How to avoid getting stung by petrol price hikes

Fuel prices have skyrocketed over the last month, with prices rising at their fastest rate in 18 years. The jump is the result of a perfect storm of rising crude oil prices and a weak pound – trends that aren’t going away any time soon. So how can consumers avoid taking a financial hit?

Drive smart

Fuel-efficient driving can make a significant difference to petrol costs. For example, driving at 70mph uses 25% more fuel than at 50mph over the same distance, so sticking to the speed limits really does pay. Similarly, accelerating uses much more fuel than going at a steady speed – so you could try to avoid stop-start driving, and keep engine revs down by changing up a gear a little earlier. The aim should be to stay below 2500rpm (2000rpm for diesels).

Cut corners

Consider ways to reduce your mileage and therefore your fuel consumption. Take advantage of tools like Google Maps or Michelin’s route planner to find your shortest route before each journey, then use your local knowledge to cut out motorways and reduce speed, or miss roads with stop-start speed bumps and traffic lights.

Share the burden

You might be able to reduce your mileage by reducing your number of individual journeys. Simple planning like combining trips to the shops with school runs will mean less going back and forth. And if you’re really serious about bringing down your driving miles, try car sharing. Even if you don’t have colleagues and friends to group up with, there are carpooling websites like Liftshare and BlaBlaCar to help you find someone who’ll share.

Shop around

A quick change could save a lot of money. Switching insurers, for example, saves an average of £63. There are also signs that supermarkets might start another price war, so keep an eye on prices as you pass the pumps. You may even be able to renegotiate any loans you have on your car – this could be especially important if you’re struggling with repayments.

If you’re finding it hard to repay any debts, including car-related purchases, remember that free services like StepChange or the Money Advice Service can help. And if you’ve received an enforcement notice from Dukes Bailiffs, contact one of our operators to discuss a manageable repayment plan.