Petrol prices hit four-year low

Supermarkets are cutting petrol prices again - Sainsbury’s and Tesco are dropping prices by as much as 5p per litre as of today, while Asda is knocking 1p off a litre of petrol and up to 2p off diesel.
And given that forecourt prices are already at their lowest levels for around three years (the average cost of a litre of unleaded is 129p), these fresh price cuts mean we’ll be paying less for our fuel than at any time since 2010.

Petrol price war

The main driver for the price cuts is an attempt by the UK’s major supermarkets to lure us away from discount chains such as Aldi and Lidl – petrol is one of the few effective weapons they have in this ongoing battle. The result of the Scottish independence referendum has also played its part, however. Since the No vote, the value of the pound has risen against the dollar, meaning the wholesale price of petrol (which is priced in dollars on international markets) has dropped. The good news for motorists is that these savings are being passed straight on via cheaper prices at the pumps.

Distance/saving equation

If you know a petrol station a few miles from where you live is offering cheaper prices than your local forecourt, it can be tempting to make a trip to fill up. But there comes a point when the distance involved and the saving available stops it being worthwhile. You can find out whether that applies in your case using our fuel cost calculator.

Pressure points

It’s not good news for everyone, though, as more price cuts will inevitably put more pressure on independent filling stations, which could well lead to more closures. Figures from the Petrol Retailers Association have revealed that, over the last five years, almost 900 independent filling stations have disappeared from the roadside, more than a third of which are in rural areas. For more on the plight of independent filling stations, read Kevin’s article Are we running out of petrol stations?

Cutting your fuel consumption

Seeing as we’re going to be paying less for our petrol, now is as good a time as any to increase those savings by making your fuel go further, so here ae some tried and trusted ways to cut your fuel consumption…
  • Drive more considerately - Harsh accelerating and breaking leads to greater fuel consumption, so watch how you drive and pull away slowly and break gradually.
  • Cut your speed – one of the simplest ways to cut your fuel consumption is to cut your speed. For instance, driving at 70mph uses 9% more fuel than driving at 60mph, and 15% more than driving at 50mph.
  • Check your tyres – a drop in tyre pressure of just 0.4 bar, or six PSI, can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20%, so check pressures weekly and keep them topped up
  • Don’t drive as much – an obvious one, but cutting out unnecessary journeys can really lead to significant savings.
  • Clear out the clutter – if your car is full of clutter, you’ll increase your fuel consumption by around 1% for every extra 25kg of weight. So clear out that clutter.
  • Cut the air-con – using the air con to keep cool can increase fuel consumption by as much as 25%, so you’re better off driving with the vents open and the windows down. If, however, you’re travelling at speeds of more than 60mph, wind the windows up and put the air-con on as the drag on the car at high speeds uses even more fuel.
Have you got any fuel-saving tips? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @MoneySuperMkt using the hashtag #FocusonFuel

Did you enjoy that? Why not share this article