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How to: find the cheapest petrol in your area

07 Dec 2012 at 14:55

Chancellor George Osborne scrapped the proposed 3p per litre fuel duty hike altogether in his recent autumn budget statement, but it doesn’t mean fuel is going to get any cheaper.

So how can you cut your petrol or diesel costs to the minimum? We’ve put together some top tips on how to find the cheapest fuel in your area:

  • Price comparison websites can immediately find the cheapest filling station in your vicinity. Using these tools – and even taking a small detour to visit a cheap forecourt – can save you as much as a few pence for every litre. Over one tank that’s noticeable: over 12 months’ motoring, that’s a saving that could stretch into the hundreds.
  • Take advantage of the supermarket price wars – it can save you a useful amount at the pumps. The big grocery chains often vie for your custom by cutting headline prices. You can discover the cheapest by keeping an eye on your local supermarket filling stations when you’re doing your shopping. Sometimes they’ll give out money off fuel vouchers at the till, too.
  • Supermarkets – as well as other oil companies – run loyalty card schemes, and while they might clog up your purse or wallet, they do come in handy in cutting fuel costs. The more you fill up, the more points you’ll accrue – you can then exchange these for vouchers off your next fill-up.
  • Some credit card companies offer cashback for spending money at filling stations. While it might not actually save you money at the pumps, it will offset higher petrol or diesel prices by putting something back in your account. Just remember to pay off your account within the month or your savings will be cancelled out.

However, the main way to save money on fuel is to drive efficiently. That means gentle acceleration and looking ahead to predict traffic conditions. This way, you can avoid heavy braking and acceleration – the killer for fuel economy.  You could also check traffic news before you set off on your journey.

Removing needless weight from your boot can help, too. A 10-minute clearout could, over a few months, save just as much as spending hours shopping for the cheapest fuel.