6 Tips for Keeping Petrol Costs Down
05th November 2021
The price of petrol is rocketing up right now, so how do you keep the costs under control? An average price of 142.94p per litre in the UK is putting household finances under real pressure. This has already driven up the cost of filling a standard family car’s tank by as much as £78, and there’s no telling where it’ll stop.
If you’re among the many thousands who need to drive for work, you’d be smart to look for ways to cut those costs back. Here are some simple hacks to keep the wheels from falling off your fuel budget.
1) Ask questions and shop around
This is probably the easiest and most obvious way to stop paying over the odds for your petrol. Comparing prices is a smart move whatever you’re shopping for. However, finding a fair deal on your fuel won’t do you much good if you burn half your tank hunting for it. Much better to ask around locally and share the information.
If your friends are all leaving their cars in the garage and working from home, you can even do your price comparisons online. Petrolprices.com is a good place to start. It’s a free service and you could save an estimated £240 a year by using it.
2) Share the load
Ride sharing’s another easy way to bring your fuel costs down. If you’re all headed in the same direction, why not travel together and split the cost? Stick an advert on the work noticeboard and see who bites. Again, this is something you can do online with sites like liftshare.com – but obviously it’s worth being a little bit careful when picking your passengers.
Quick additional tip: if you’re ride sharing with people you know, take turns being the driver. That way, no money even needs to change hands since you’re each just paying for filling up your own vehicle.
One more pointer about passengers: don’t carry more people than you need to. If they’re only along for the ride or aren’t paying their share, they’re just making your car heavier and your wallet lighter. Even if you end up travelling alone, you can still economise in fuel by combining journeys together to get all your errands done at once.
3) Keep your wheels in shape
You don’t need to be a mechanical expert to keep up with the basics of vehicle maintenance. If you’re letting your car fall into disrepair, though, you’ll eventually start to feel the drag on your finances. Weak tyre pressure’s one of the chief culprits here, since it can cause you to waste petrol over time. You’ll also want to make sure you keep your oil and brake fluid levels healthy, though.
Long story short: the better shape your car’s in, the better it’ll run – and that’s going to have an impact at the pumps.
4) Drive smarter
Even when you’re already out on the road, there are still things you can do to optimise your fuel usage. Driving faster might get you where you’re going quicker, but that doesn’t mean it’ll save you money. Speeding isn’t just dangerous and illegal, it also wrecks your fuel efficiency. Basically, you’ll spend less time travelling, but more cash doing it.
Accelerate and brake smoothly and travel in higher gears to make the most of your fuel, but stay within the limits and the law. Driving smoothly means you’re using your car’s momentum well, and keeping your eye on the road ahead will allow you to spread your speed changes out and preserve your petrol.
5) It’s the little things...
If you’ve for the basics well covered, it’s time to look at the things we rarely think of as wasted petrol. Air conditioning’s a great feature to have in the heat, for instance, but it still uses your fuel reserves to run. The same, naturally enough, applies to your in-car heating. Maybe just dress for the weather and save some cash.
6) Claim your mileage tax refund
This is probably the single most important step you can take to keep inflated fuel costs from blowing up your budget. Every mile you put under your wheels for work could be earning you a tax refund from HMRC. It’s yours to claim, but it takes expertise to get back everything you’re owed. Depending on your situation and mileage, you could be looking at a refund in the thousands, and it all goes to waste if you don’t claim it back. Use our mileage calculator for a free estimate.
Talk to RIFT about making your yearly tax refund claims. We’re the UK’s top tax experts and we’re here to help.