Bargain-hunting motorists who drive out of their way for cheap fuel could be spending more money than they save according to research by MoneySuperMarket. Its Focus on Fuel report found that 38% of motorists would drive out of their way to save just 1p per litre when filling up at the pump.
As a result, according to MoneySuperMarket, drivers of petrol-engined cars are wasting up to £8 each month trying to buy cheaper fuel – while diesel drivers are potentially wasting £21.30 apiece.
The benefit of saving 2p per litre is cancelled out by driving more than four miles
The report also identified the biggest influence when deciding where to buy fuel:
- Price: 84%
- Convenience: 83%
- Loyalty Points: 56%
- Brand name: 16%
The Focus on Fuel report identifies the tipping point at which driving extra miles means motorists 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, of 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 aredoing all they can to spend as little as possible running their vehicle.
“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."
MoneySupermarket reckons UK drivers are wasting £500 million every month on trying to cut their fuel bills; this figure doesn't take into account the cost of running a car though, only the cost of the fuel wasted. Every mile you drive means more wear and tear on your car; the real cost of trying to cut fuel costs can be even higher...
- If you need to cut your motoring costs, check out FirstCar’s guide to eco driving.