posted 8 months ago

UK Fuel Prices Hit 3 Year High

Current and retrospective fuel prices revealed, why prices have risen and how to save money by slashing consumption

Cost of petrol and diesel

In December 2017, United Kingdom fuel prices hit a 3 year high and now look set to increase further short term, RAC Fuel Watch confirmed. From July to December 2017 alone, the retail price of unleaded increased from £114.33 pence per-litre to £121.11 (+6.78).

Consider the impact on motorists. A small, supermini class, hatchback typically has a 45-litre fuel tank (approximately). In July 2017 – the month fuel was cheapest last year - it, therefore, cost £51.45 to fill such a tank from empty. However, the price increased to £54.50 during the last few days of the said year (+£3.05). 

Diesel got more expensive too. In July 2017, the retail price was £115.02 pence per-litre. It then increased to £123.46 in December 2017 (+8.44). A large, sports-utility, vehicle typically has an 87-litre fuel tank (roughly). During the aforementioned period, the price of filling such a tank rose from £100.07 to £107.41 (+£7.34).

Why fuel prices rose

Retail prices are linked to the cost of crude oil. From December 1st to December 31st, 2017 alone, it increased from $64.59 to $66.61 per barrel. Some experts expect it to rise further. Why? Because – in part - The Organisation Of The Petroleum Exporting Countries recently cut production. Such cuts limit supply relative to demand.

How to minimise fuel consumption

To minimise the impact of price hikes note where it is cheapest to buy fuel, maintain the vehicle and drive efficiently. A motorway service station, for example, is typically more expensive than a counterpart in town that has more competition. A difference of a few pence per-litre equates to a big saving over time. Furthermore:

  • Close the windows, close the sunroof and remove any roof box to optimise the vehicle’s aerodynamic efficiency
  • Remove unnecessary cargo to minimise weight
  • Inflate the tyres to the correct pressure
  • Repair faults that increase consumption such as sticky brakes
  • Ensure the vehicle is serviced regularly
  • Switch off the air-conditioning
  • Accelerate gently to minimise engine revolutions
  • Swap to higher gears early to minimise engine revolutions
  • Stick to the speed limit
  • Lift off the throttle early when approaching (say) junctions 
  • Switch off the engine if stationary for a long time
  • Avoid travelling at times when traffic is particularly heavy
  • Avoid travelling through extreme weather such as strong wind
  • Maintain a consistent speed rather than accelerate and decelerate unnecessarily (cruise control makes this easier)
  • Park in a cool place to minimise how much fuel evaporates