If you’d like to save the money you spend on fuel, then ‘don’t’ do what I used to do. I’ve owned some of the finest V8 engines on sale, most of which would steadfastly refuse to deliver much more than 20 mpg.

So as penance for their gluttony I’d search around for the cheapest fuel station, saving a penny or two per litre which I’d reason was a prudent move given the 80+ litre tank I had to fill.


But according a new Fuel Cost Calculator
by MoneySuperMarket, British motorists could be wasting nearly £500 million each month in search of cheaper fuel. The survey, which questioned 524 drivers, found that 38 per cent of drivers would travel out of their way to save just 1p per litre.

The report also identified the biggest influences when deciding where to buy fuel – firstly price at 84 per cent, followed by convenience (83 per cent), loyalty points (56 per cent) and finally brand (16 per cent). Apparently 51 per cent of UK adults are petrol buyers, while 25 per cent use diesel, with around a 7% overlap between the two.

The study found that in most cases the benefit of saving 2p per litre was cancelled out by driving more than four miles and instead recommends the ‘two for one rule’ – where two is the maximum number of extra miles driven to make it worthwhile saving one pence per litre at the pump.

You can test it out yourself by taking a look at the PetrolPrices website. Using my own postcode I found (as of 2/9/2013) there were 6 petrol stations within 5 miles with a highest unleaded fuel price of 138.9p per litre and lowest of (you guessed it) 137.9p. Diesel followed the same pattern with a high of 143.9p and a low of 142.9p.

Clearly, not to put too fine a point on it, we’re screwed, unless of course you’ve got a supermarket offering a big enough discount for combining a tank of fuel with your weekly shop. The study found that on average petrol drivers could be wasting £8 each month and diesel drivers £21.

So, next time you’re feel inclined to save yourself a few pennies at the pump, don’t. Instead, save yourself the time (and hassle) and perhaps focus on the way you drive rather than where you buy the actual fuel from.

Of course you could just buy ‘electric’, but then I wonder how far you’d have to travel out of your way to find the cheapest charging station..?