UK petrol and diesel prices hit a new record high as more people struggle to pay the costs. Petrol prices rose by 17p per litre in June, making it the biggest jump in 17 years. The cost of filling up an average family car has now hit more than £100, having a massive impact on people in the UK.
The cost of petrol has been increasing in the past couple of months. According to data revealed by RAC motoring organisation, the average petrol price is 185.98p per litre and diesel is now 195p per litre.
Neil Fraser from Tickhill, Doncaster said that although he can afford recent price increases, they still have an impact on his budget. Fraser said he has been changing his driving style to maximise economy, particularly reducing speed to 60mph when driving to Barnstaple. He said: “I planned my journey to avoid peak periods. By driving more carefully – coasting, light acceleration, gentle braking – I’m sure I achieve +10% fuel economy.”
Why is petrol so expensive?
A sharp increase in fuel prices happened due to global economies recovering from Covid lockdowns. More businesses return to their usual operating procedures, the demand for energy is rising but suppliers are struggling to keep up, resulting in higher prices for petrol.
Prices have also risen as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has led to European countries putting economic and trading sanctions on one of the largest oil exporters in the world. The UK and EU leaders revealed they will end most Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.
The weakness of the pound against the US dollar is also one of the reasons for higher prices. Pound sterling has been weakening since the Brexit vote was declared in 2016 and has fallen sharply in 2022 despite the Bank of England raising interest rates repeatedly. The value of the pound against the US dollar makes it expensive for the country to buy fuel.
Although the reasons above reflect the problem that the public and the suppliers of petrol are facing, a new analysis revealed that the oil and gas industry has received £2.3bn a day in pure profit for the last 50 years. This equals to a total of $52tn since 1970.
Rising demand for alternative ways of transport
A poll commissioned by The Motor Ombudsman revealed that 48% of UK car owners are concerned about having a petrol or diesel vehicle, increasing the likelihood of switching to an electric car. There are currently nearly half a million electric cars in the UK and the number will rise as at least 330,000 EVs will be registered in 2022, DriveElectric predicts.
An increase is also likely to be seen in the use of public transport, the Confederation of Passenger Transport reveals to Yorkshire Bylines. A spokesperson from CPT said: “There continue to be encouraging signs for bus and coach travel, with increasing numbers of passengers, and steady growth in demand.”
For the demand to stay high, bus and train operators are looking for ways to make public transport more convenient and encourage more people to switch from using their cars.
CPT’s spokesperson said: “Bus and coach operators are working tirelessly to minimise fare rises for passengers across the UK. Our services are becoming an even better value for passengers, with the added benefits of reducing congestion on the roads and improving air quality as a result.”
However, switching to public transport may not be convenient for everyone. Fraser said: “I live in a small village, so I have to use the car regularly for shopping etc. I could use the bus into Doncaster, but savings do not outweigh convenience.”
How drivers can cut their cost
Kevin Pratt, personal finance expert at Forbes Advisor, revealed some tips for petrol or diesel car drivers to save money.
He said lightening a car’s load by removing any items in the boot or footwells that are not needed is a great way to save some money as additional weight in the car will make the engine work harder and use up more fuel.
Pratt also said that aiming for smooth, measured transitions to higher gears, topping up car tyresand avoiding sitting with the engine running will also reduce the use of fuel.
Other advice on cutting fuel costs:
- Compare prices at various petrol stations in the same area. Driving a little further from the usual petrol station may make a difference in the cost, tools such as PetrolPrices.com may be helpful in finding the best option.
- Avoid using AC too often as it burns fuel by using engine power.
- Supermarkets petrol stations are often cheaper, however it is still worth comparing big brands to independent retailers.
- Don’t speed on the roads. Significantly more fuel is used when driving at high speeds.
- Use loyalty cards or cashback schemes. A large number of petrol stations and supermarkets offer loyalty card and cashback schemes to encourage customers to use their petrol stations. The schemes allow customers to gain points on their loyalty card which later can be exchanged for discounts.
And perhaps the most logical if you have this option – avoid short trips. Cars use up to 20% fuel when the engine is cold. Instead walk, cycle or use public transport (cheaper, healthier and greener too!).