Don’t drive out of your way for tiny fuel savings

Posted on August 23rd, 2013 by James Luckhurst

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 12.35.42We’re wasting up to half a billion pounds each month by driving further for cheaper fuel

  • 13 million motorists would drive ‘out of their way’ for just a 1p per litre saving.
  • Petrol drivers waste £8 and diesel drivers £21 per month
  • Experts recommend the 2 for 1 rule – only drive 2 miles for a 1p saving

Bargain-hunting motorists who drive ‘out of their way’ for cheap fuel could be wasting almost £500 million every month according to research by MoneySuperMarket. Its ‘Focus on Fuel’ report found that nearly four in ten (38 per cent) motorists would drive out of their way to save just 1p per litre when filling up at the pump. Driving the extra miles in search of cheaper fuel means motorists could be wasting almost £500million a month. This equates to £193million for petrol drivers and £273million for diesel drivers.

The report also identified the biggest influence when deciding where to buy fuel:

Price – 84 per cent

Convenience – 83 per cent

Loyalty Points – 56 per cent

Brand name – 16 per cent

The ‘Focus on Fuel’ report has also identified the ‘tipping point’ at which driving extra miles means drivers are wasting money. Going more than two miles for a 1p per litre saving makes this journey pointless.  The benefit of saving 2p per litre is cancelled out by driving more than four miles. On the flip side, driving just one mile to pay 5p per litre less on fuel will give motorists a saving of £2.29 per litre when filling a 50 litre tank.

Clare Francis consumer finance expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “It’s no surprise cash strapped motorists are seeking out cheaper petrol prices. The cost of fuel accounts for a huge proportion of household outgoings and with prices on the up many drivers are  doing all they can to spend as little as possible running their vehicle.

“Three fifths (57.5 per cent) of workers rely on their cars for their daily commute so finding ways to cut fuel costs is high up the priority list.4 While driving a couple of extra miles for cheaper fuel which is a few pence cheaper per litre might seem like a simple way of cutting costs, the reality is that in many cases it’s a pointless pursuit or worse, actually ends up with you spending more.

“Motorists should consider adopting the ’2 for 1 rule’, with two being the maximum number of extra driving miles (round trip) to make it worthwhile to find a one pence per litre saving. We have also developed a fuel calculator, to help motorists identify when driving the extra distance for cheaper fuel means making a saving, and when it actually ends up costing them more.”