How to save on petrol

Can you believe it?! Petrol prices have shot up AGAIN! Just as we started celebrating 90p a litre earlier in the year we get stung in our wallets with a staggering rise to 102p a litre at just about every petrol station in the country. Not exactly a recession buster is it?

In a press release from the May 28 OPEC conference, petrol prices per barrel were announced to stay where they are for the next few weeks. At the time of writing the average price of petrol is 102.4p a litre and remains fairly steady.

At least, steady until the government get their grubby mitts on it again and add further duty increasing it by 2p a litre on September 1st 2009. So if we love our treasured cars so much that we can’t possible go anywhere without them, what can we do to shave some much needed cash off the old expenditure spreadsheet?

Funnily enough some ‘experts’ are advising motorists to “not get lost” and invest in a Sat Nav, therefore reducing the sheer number of miles the dopey driver may consume searching for their destination. Well, this may be a ‘green’ option, but it certainly doesn’t help save the pennies when a Tom Tom 520 costs £199 from Halfords. Is it so difficult to read a map and navigate a journey this way? Or is that now too passé?

In actual fact you would be better off saving money by making a lifestyle change. A change which would alter your everyday life. Too drastic? Not really. A survey in 2008 showed that 86% of car owners would sooner drive half a mile down the road to buy a newspaper than walk or cycle. Not only is that an eye-opening statistic, it’s also quite a saddening one. In a country that’s rapidly catching up with the States on the deep-fried obesity scale, we could actually be doing ourselves a favour financially while becoming more healthy at the same time.

Many people believe they are quite astute when it comes to buying petrol. We’ve heard it all before: “I don’t get the Super Unleaded coz it’s a rip-off and doesn’t increase performance”. And “I look around for the cheapest petrol in my local area to save cash”. Incredibly, many motorists drive a couple of miles just to get the cheaper petrol thinking they’re a shrewd money expert. But how much money are you actually saving by going to your petrol station of choice?

Lets break this down for a moment:

For arguments sake, lets say petrol is 100p per litre (not far off eh)? And for second arguments sake lets say you own a typical hatchback – like a Ford Focus or VW Golf or a Honda Civic. Well these cars have a petrol tank on average of 40 litres. Therefore, it costs £40 to fill your car to the brim, right?

So is it really financially sound to drive out of town to your local ASDA filling station to save 2p per litre when you’re actually only saving 80p? This of course is entirely your choice, but perhaps worth thinking about next time the needle is approaching red.

To save time, and possibly money, try using websites like PetrolPrices.com who provide a free search facility in which you can hunt down the cheapest petrol station in your local area by simply punching in your post code. PetrolPrices.com monitors about 10,000 stations every working day and updates the prices daily. The days will be long gone when you had to drive around searching for the best price in your town!

There are also many small changes that can make your car use its sacred petrol more efficiently.

Here’s just a few supplied from AA:

  • Turn off the air conditioning.
  • Use your headlights when necessary. No point having them on with good visibility!
  • Turn off the rear-heated windshield if you don’t need it.
  • Unload your car’s interior of all the things you don’t need.
  • Those 20 CDs on the passenger seat? Put them back in the house.
  • The water bottles, clothes from yesterday, and two pairs of running shoes? Leave them at home. “Extra weight means extra fuel”, claim the AA.

Drive smoothly – fast breaking and quick acceleration both burn extra petrol.

Check your tyre pressures every month. Under-inflated tyres create more rolling resistance therefore using more fuel.

As petrol prices rise, using these methods can help you save some hard-earned cash during the tough times. So start saving today!

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