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Save £100s on fuel by changing where you fill up

We use approximately 120 million litres of fuel in the UK each day: 46 million of petrol and 74m litres of diesel respectively. What we pay per litre can vary considerably depending on our location and the retailer we choose to buy from. Lets take a look into what we are paying at the pump and discover how we can easily save £100’s on our fuel bills each year.

What affects fuel prices?

What we have to pay for both petrol and diesel is affected by wholesale fuel prices. These are dependent on a number of factors;

• the global price of crude oil
• the supply and demand for crude oil
• refinery production and capacity
• the exchange rate in pounds to dollars (refined fuel is sold in US dollars per metric tonne)
• distribution costs
• the margin dictated by the retailer
• fuel duty charged by the government
• VAT (20%) charged at the end of every transaction

While some of these elements are fixed, such as fuel duty rates and tax, fluctuations in oil price and exchange rates contribute to the constantly changing prices we have become accustom to.

What should we expect to pay for fuel?

The highest prices on record were recorded back in April 2012 when we could have paid on average up to 147.93 pence per litre for diesel and 142.48 pence per litre for petrol.

Fuel prices have remained largely steady throughout 2019. However, we are likely to be paying roughly 9p per litre more now than we were at the beginning of the year.

Below are the recorded fuel prices at time of writing (November 2019):

Why do fuel prices vary so much?

Fuel costs can vary dramatically from region to region and even from town to town. These location based variants in fuel cost will most often be influenced by the margin the retailer wants to make and the charges they have to pay for distribution. Distance from fuel depots can be the reason fuel prices soar in rural locations compared to cities. However, fuel duty discounts are sometimes in place to minimise the deficit: the government has reduced fuel duty from between 5-10 pence per litre in the most rural areas.

Motorways remain to be consistently the most expensive place to buy fuel. You can expect to pay up to and over 15 pence per litre more here than you would in your local town. Although this is a common known fact, it is one many of us have to succumb to on those long motorway journeys. If you are a frequent motorway traveller, we’d love to know if you’ve ever visited one of our alternative motorway pit stops.

One benefit of supermarket fuelling, beyond just the obvious convenience, is that these big chains will battle each other over fuel prices in order to win your grocery custom too. Furthermore, we frequently see 'money off' vouchers issued alongside of your weekly shop which can be a great way to make further savings. Plus, the loyalty and points cards offered at supermarkets and some retailers also add value by rewarding your fuel spend. It is a result of this that UK supermarkets are responsible for some 44% of total fuel sales despite only representing around 16% of forecourts.

The frequency of price changes will be affected by how regularly retailers purchase their fuel. Those who use greater volumes will need to purchase more frequently and consequently tend to alter their prices more often.

How can you reduce your fuel costs?

The cheapest place to get your fuel can change from one day to the next. While it can be a hassle to travel a few miles out of the way, doing so could save you a number of pence per litre. Over the course of the year this is likely to amount to £100s in savings.

Our first tip would be getting familiar with all of the fuel stations within a reasonable radius to you. Don’t rule out independent retailers as these can also be competitive in order to keep up with their larger counterparts. Check up-to-date prices before you head out and head for the cheapest – it isn’t as though you need to pay more to be sure of better customer service as with some purchases.

There are lots of apps and websites designed specifically to keep you in the know of the cheapest fuel prices near you. Our choice, petrol prices, compares petrol, diesel and premium fuel prices from all over the UK and prices are updated daily. While heading to our closest fuel station is always tempting, the potential savings could be persuasive enough to buck the habit!

Find out more about the driving apps created to make your journeys safer, more enjoyable and cheaper.

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Posted on 8th November 2019 at 10:59 AM

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