The beginning of June 2022 saw fuel prices reach an all-time high, with unleaded petrol and diesel costing 191.6p and 199.2p per litre respectively.
And while prices have just begun to fall, filling up your car is still an expensive business.
So, what are the key reasons behind soaring costs, and how can you make savings?
At the beginning of June 2022, unleaded petrol had reached 191.6p per litre, while diesel stood at 199.2p per litre, according to the Ageas fuel price tracker (updated weekly).
These prices absolutely smashed the previous records of 142.48p per litre of unleaded petrol, and 147.93p per litre of diesel, set in April 2012.
This will no doubt take its toll on many families already struggling with the UK’s cost-of-living crisis.
The fuel price increases follow a rise in the price of crude oil. While this remained fairly low during the pandemic, the reopening of business has seen an enormous increase in demand for energy, and suppliers have struggled to keep up.
In addition, the oil used to produce petrol and diesel is paid for in US dollars. The pound’s comparative weakness against the dollar has compounded the rise in domestic fuel costs.
WHERE NOW FOR FUEL PRICES?
Prices at petrol pumps depend on broader influences such as the global economy, and the impact of events such as the war in Ukraine.
Since Russia’s invasion, the US has banned Russian oil imports, and the UK is phasing them out. But it’s predicted that prices will remain fairly high until oil suppliers can make up for the loss of Russian oil.
For now at least, comparatively high petrol and diesel costs seem here to stay.
STEPS TO SAVE MONEY ON FILLING UP YOUR CAR
You don’t have to do anything drastic to save a decent amount of cash on petrol. In fact, small changes in your driving habits could save you money at the pump. To put this theory to the test, we put two drivers through their paces and you can see the results here.
In addition, here are some simple ways to save money on fuel.
SHOP AROUND FOR FUEL
You can compare unleaded petrol and diesel prices using sites like PetrolPrices. You’ll need to set up an account, but it’s free. Then just pop in your postcode, and it’ll tell you the prices currently being charged at your local forecourts.
Having the engine running when the car is stationary is known as idling. Obviously you’ll have to do this sometimes, such as if you’re waiting briefly at a set of traffic lights. But for longer periods of standstill, it’s more fuel efficient – and environmentally friendly – to switch the engine off.
Most modern cars have engine stop-start technology, which cuts the engine when the vehicle is stationary. If you have a car with this feature, you can save on fuel consumption by simply keeping your foot off the clutch.
Alternatively, if your car isn’t fitted with stop-start technology, turn off your engine if you’re stopping for a minute or two.
SLOW DOWN TO SAVE ON FUEL
Driving at a steady speed of 50 miles per hour (mph) rather than 70mph can improve fuel economy by 25%. But be sure to drive at speeds appropriate to the road you’re on.
KEEP YOUR DRIVING SMOOTH
As well as keeping your speed down, your driving style will affect your fuel economy. Sharp acceleration will push your revs up, which drains your fuel. And at the other end of the scale, harsh braking negatively affects the amount of miles per gallon (mpg) that your car will return.
The key to getting the best performance out of your vehicle is to drive smoothly. Also, keeping your distance from other road users will reduce your chances of having to take evasive action.
PLAN YOUR ROUTES EFFECTIVELY
More efficient route planning is another great way to use less fuel and save money. Use a route-planning app to find the quickest route and avoid congestion.
Also, plan to drive at times when there’s likely to be less traffic, such as rush hour. Plus, on schooldays, avoid going past schools when parents are likely to be dropping off or picking up their kids.