Great ways to save on fuel
With the average price of a litre of unleaded now at 134p, and the typical 50-litre refill costing £67.85, up 15% on a year ago, it is easy to see why four in 10 respondents to a recent survey by comparison website Moneysupermarket said the soaring cost of fuel has had the biggest impact on their finances over the past 12 months.
Taking the train rather than the car is not necessarily the answer, though – especially with rail fares set to increase by an average of 8% from January. So how can you cut the cost of fuel?
The Petrolprices website, which allows you to locate the cheapest available in your area simply by typing in your postcode, is a good first port of call for motorists keen to find ways to fill up for less.
Where you buy your petrol or diesel is not the only factor influencing how much you pay, though. How you buy it is also crucial.
You can, for example, use cashback cards to help bring the cost down by rewarding all your fuel purchases.
The AA's Rewards Plus credit card offers 3% cashback on fuel purchases up to £2,000 a year, then 0.5% beyond that, meaning that a typical driver who spends £1,700 a year on fuel would earn £51 a year.
The card is available only to AA members, though. If you do not want to join the breakdown service, then a better option is therefore Santander's new 123 cashback card, which returns 3% on up to £300 of fuel a month for a £24 annual fee.
The cheapest cars to run
Driving more efficiently will also help - and is as good for the environment as it is for your wallet as your car gobbles up less petrol this way.
Keeping your engine revs between 1,500 and 2,500rpm is a good starting point, while accelerating smoothly and minimising unnecessary gear changes will also reduce the frequency with which you have to fill up your tank.