How to save money on the road
The history of fuel prices, why prices have increased and how to save money going forward.
It’s 2022, your household bills continue to rocket, you’re just out of a worldwide pandemic and boom! – fuel prices drastically shoot through the roof for both petrol and diesel.
As of May 2022, the prices of petrol have increased massively, going up by 11% since only January for petrol, and an even bigger 18% for diesel. UK drivers officially pay the highest Fuel Duty Tax rates in Europe too, sitting at just under 53p per litre.
Have prices really increased THAT much?
Yes and no.
Prices increase annually with cost of living increases and fuel costs, but as demand decreased during the Covid pandemic, so did prices, which then increased along with demand as life went back to some sort of normality.
That being said, there is a more political reason for prices rocketing between January and May 2022.
Let’s take a look at the history of fuel prices over the past 10 years to see exactly how much both petrol and diesel have increased:
In the last 10 years, unleaded petrol prices have increased by 23% and diesel prices have increased by 25%, leaving many households simply unable to affordably run their vehicle like they used to.
For example, taking the UK’s best selling car of 2022 so far, the iconic Vauxhall Corsa with a 44 litre tank and today’s unleaded petrol prices of 162.91, it’d cost you on average £72 to fill your car, in comparison to January 2021, where it would have only cost £58.48.
So, why exactly are fuel prices soaring?
Well, this is due to a few things, but mainly the cost of crude oil. Crude oil is what’s used to make both petrol and diesel, and with prices of this rising, the cost is then naturally passed down the line to fuel suppliers and then of course, customers.
We’ve noticed a big jump since 2020 mainly due to the Covid pandemic. At the very start of the pandemic and worldwide lockdowns, demand for energy collapsed, with a significant reduction in fuel being purchased and used. In return, this then pushed prices down, with the lowest figures in 5 years being recorded in January 2021 with petrol costing only £1.17 per litre.
Unfortunately, on the flipside of this, when lives started to return back to “normal”, people started making more regular journeys and returned to the office, the demand for fuel grew dramatically and suppliers struggled to meet this, resulting in a price increase.
On top of this, Russia’s recent invasion and war in Ukraine has made things worse.
Russia is one of the world’s largest oil exporters and the European Union’s biggest oil trading partner and in support of Ukraine, the world is turning against this.
The UK has agreed to completely phase out Russian oil by the end of 2022 and the USA have announced a ban on all Russian oil imports, which means a higher demand for oil from other countries and oil producers, and even higher prices.
How can you save money on the road?
Saving money, it’s all we want to do, right? Right!
We’ve put together a list of tips, tricks and recommendations on how you can save money on the road and get the most out of your mileage.
- Go electric! – Possibly the most obvious and recommended trick to saving money on fuel is by changing to an all-electric car.
Aside from the many benefits of electric cars, like a cleaner environment, free parking, government funding and increased value, the lower running costs trump absolutely everything!
For example, let’s take that beloved Vauxhall Corsa again. Using today’s standard unleaded prices of 162.91, to travel 100 miles, it’d cost you around £14. In the Vauxhall Corsa e all-electric car, you’d be looking at approximately £1.50. The difference in cost is truly a no-brainer!
- Take it easy on your pedals! – Unless you’re competing in Formula 1, there’s not really a need for pulling off with full force! Heavy-accelerating and excess speed is one of the biggest guzzlers of fuel, and can negatively affect fuel economy between 15% and 30%. Keep your acceleration gentle and you’ll be flying for longer!
If you’re driving on a smooth, flat surface like a motorway, be sure to take advantage of cruise control if you have it. This will ensure you remain at a consistent speed during the entire time it’s used.
- Drive in the highest possible gear within your speed limit – According to the RAC, “the biggest secret to achieving high mpg is driving in the highest possible gear for your vehicle while keeping within the speed limit. The best advice in urban areas is to change up through the gears as quickly as you can with the lowest revs possible, probably at around 2000rpm”.
- Check tyre pressure and alignment – Driving with tyres that aren’t fully inflated can actually make all the difference, in fact, quite a big difference!
On average, your tyres can lose around 2 pounds per psi each month. A tyre deflated by 10 psi reduces your fuel by roughly 3.3%. Take all four tyres though, and you’re looking at a 10% loss! It’s equally important to make sure your tyres are aligned. Tyres that aren’t aligned can drag along the ground instead of rolling freely, which can reduce your fuel efficiency by a further 10%!
- Fill your tank first thing in the morning, or last thing at night –There’s an urban myth about filling up your car first thing in the morning to get more for your money, but there is actually some sense to it! You pay for your fuel by the volume, you see and fuel is denser when it’s coldest.So technically, if you fill your tank in the early morning or late at night when the temperature is at its coolest, you should get more fuel for your money.
- Leave extra baggage behind! – We’ve all been guilty of packing the car to the very brim for a weekend trip, but if you’re looking to save pounds, it’s time to take out lbs. Having an additional 100lbs in your car can reduce your fuel mileage by up to 1%! Yes, it’s a very small percentage, but it can make all the difference.
- Lay off the AC and heating (unless you REALLY need to use it!) – One of drivers’ biggest misconceptions is thinking that using their cars air conditioning and heating doesn’t use fuel, when in fact it does! Try to dress according to the weather where possible instead of reaching for those appealing buttons.
- Plan your route – Planning your route in advance can be super helpful when it comes to saving fuel. Check maps and satellite navigations to find the quickest route for your destination, especially if it’s a long journey, listen to traffic reports to avoid road accidents and construction work and try to avoid roads that journey through major cities! These are filled with traffic lights and pedestrians meaning you’ll need to keep stopping!
- Combine journeys – You need to nip to the shops today, the post office tomorrow and then you’re going for lunch on Friday? Scratch that idea and try and combine these into one journey! Longer drives let your vehicle’s engine warm up to its most fuel-efficient temperature, meaning you’ll be saving! Plan your route to tick off all of your errands and try to avoid rush hour traffic.
- Remove roof and bike racks – Driving with an unused roof or bike rack on your vehicle can create wind resistance – something we call ‘aerodynamic drag’. According to the Energy Saving Trust an empty roof rack adds 16% aerodynamic drag when driving at 75mph, whilst a roof box adds 39% when driving at the same speed.
Overall, there are many different ways to save money on the road and make the most of your MPG! Why not challenge yourself? Or move to an all-electric vehicle? You’ll be surprised at just how much you save!
Find an environmentally friendly, electric vehicle to suit your lifestyle on our Eco Hub today!