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How to control your petrol costs

03 November 2014 ( 13 March 2019 )

Petrol prices will always fluctuate, but wherever they are, it makes sense to drive down your petrol costs even further...

Car being filled up with petrol
Are you keeping a handle on your petrol costs?

 Although the major cost of motoring has plummeted, the cost of putting petrol or diesel in your car still remains a burden for many households. But there are ways of keeping your fuel costs down if you follow a few simple steps:

Drive more carefully to cut down your fuel consumption

A simple way to save fuel is by driving more economically. Lowering your speed is one easy way to do this.

Figures from the Driving Standards Agency show that driving at 70mph burns 30 per cent more fuel than at 60mph.

Other useful tips include accelerating smoothly and not braking too heavily. Try to let the car slow down in gear as you approach traffic lights and roundabouts, rather than approaching at full throttle and having to break. 

How to drive more economically

Pay attention to the gears

The higher the gear, the lower the revs, and the lower the fuel consumption, right? 

Usually, yes, but only if you're changing at the right time. Going up a gear to quickly can labour the engine, and increase fuel consumption.

How to be a more courteous driver

Make your car lighter to cut down fuel consumption

Further savings can be made by not filling your tank right up, as the extra weight you’re carrying around will burn more fuel; so consider filling instead.

However, this can be a balancing act; bear in mind that the more petrol you put in at a time, the fewer trips you need to make to the petrol station. Try to keep an eye on your fuel so that once it starts to approach empty, you stop at a petrol station en route, rather than waiting until you're running on fumes and having to go out of your way to fill up quickly. 

Also remove roof racks and take other items you don’t need out of your boot to minimise fuel consumption; not only do these add weight, they also interfere with your car's aerodynamic design.

Your car is deliberately streamlined in order to minimise drag and cost you less in fuel; anyone adding flags to their car during patriotic times (during the football world cup, for example) will end up paying more than usual to stay on the road. 

Keep the air conditioning off as much as possible, and bear in mind that even driving with the windows down will increase the drag. 

10 things you (probably) didn't know about petrol stations

Shop around for cheaper petrol

Find out where to buy the cheapest fuel. Just log on to PetrolPrices and enter your postcode to find the cheapest options on fuel in your local area. 

Saga Car Insurance: Join over a million drivers already benefiting from our outstanding cover and personal service for the over 50s. Get a quote and find out more!

Take advantage of supermarket petrol deals

In the latest supermarket price war, Asda, Morrisons and Tesco have all been lowering prices at the pumps in a bid to offer the cheapest petrol and diesel, so take advantage of these great value forecourt prices .And it's worth remembering that with certain credit cards you can benefit from cashback on fuel.

Nectar card holders can also potentially get money off on petrol, depending on their spend on certain other items in-store at Sainsbury's, and Tesco Clubcard holders can collect points on fuel at Tesco forecourts. But be aware that BP and Esso are ending their partnerships with Nectar and Tesco Clubcard respectively in 2019 to launch their own loyalty schemes. 

8 ways to reduce your supermarket food spend

Car-share to save on petrol costs

You could go ahead and sign up to a car-sharing service, or consider lift-sharing with people with your friends and neighbours.

Use your car less to save on petrol costs

It's an obvious fix, but you could try to consciously reduce the number of journeys you make. This might mean combining errands when going out in your car, or sticking to just one big weekly shop.Try walking – or cycling – rather than taking the car to help save on petrol.

For more tips and useful information, browse our motoring articles

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.