Motorists are being warned over rising fuel prices as the cost of a barrel of oil approaches 100 US dollars. The RAC said drivers are “in for a hard time at the pumps” as increasing demand from China and production cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia are sparking a hike in oil prices.
Brent crude, the oil price benchmark, ended Monday at 94 US dollars per barrel, its highest price since mid-November 2022. Before the start of this month the highest oil price of the year was 88 US dollars in January.
The average price of a litre of petrol has already risen by 10p since the beginning of August to 155.5p, its most expensive level since mid-December last year. RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Diesel is set to jump in price from its current average of 159p a litre to over 170p.
“But the situation with petrol is different with RAC Fuel Watch data showing that prices on the forecourt are actually too high due to retailers taking bigger margins than normal. If they were playing fair with drivers, they would be reducing their prices rather than putting them up.
“However, if oil were to hit 100 US dollars, it should really only take the average petrol price up by another 2p. But if retailers remain intent on making more money per litre with increased margins then this could be closer to 160p.”
Eight ways to save money on petrol
In light of the price hikes, car and van leasing company Vanarama has shared eight tips to help make your fuel go further to save money.
Drive as if you have a bowl of water on the passenger seat
Every time you apply the brakes, the energy that you’ve paid for in fuel is lost in heat generated by the brake pads and discs. Don’t rev the engine unnecessarily when accelerating, just move gently through the gears, keeping the engine speed to a reasonable level, but without labouring it by being in too high a gear.
Make sure your car is kept clutter-free
Naturally, when you’re carrying a heavy load, your car doesn’t perform as well on the road. These long inclines are harder work and will lead to you putting your foot down, or changing down a gear to keep the speed up – all of which uses additional fuel. Instead, have a clear out of items in your car.
Limit your use of the aircon
Many of us leave the air conditioning switched on all year round, overriding it when necessary with the heater. Try and get into the habit of turning it off when you don’t need it, it can be quite a drain on fuel when in operation.
Keep your tyres pumped up
Often motorists only check their tyre pressure once they have a puncture, however, this is a costly mistake. Low tyre pressures create heat and friction with the tread and sidewalls flexing, with research showing that you use an additional 3% fuel for every 10% your tyres are under-inflated. Not only that, tyres with insufficient pressure lead to poor handling of the vehicle with the potential for loss of control and accidents.
Take all non-regularly used bike racks and ladder racks off your vehicle
Did you know that you use more fuel to push these items through the air? Unless you’re using a bike or ladder regularly, take the rack off your vehicle. If you do, however, need a roof rack (as you’re a tradesperson), then keep it clear of loads as much as possible. Find somewhere secure at home or work to store it, as the savings in fuel can be considerable.
Have regular servicing to prevent further costs down the road
This is extremely important as something as simple as a blocked air filter will result in poor performance and higher fuel consumption. A brake that is binding slightly can have a dramatic effect on your MPG. Don’t forget, if your van is under warranty or subject to a lease agreement, it’s important to keep your service history up to date. If it belongs to you it’ll also help you prove to a second owner or, to a dealer when part exchanging for a new vehicle that you’ve looked after it, enhancing its value.
Keep your window closed
All that buffeting you get in the cab when you have the window open, even slightly, doesn’t come for free and fuel is burnt to generate it. If you don’t need the window open, close it.
Always pre-plan your journeys
Probably the single, most effective way of lowering your fuel bill is to reduce the mileage you drive and to avoid time-consuming and costly congestion. Plan your routes carefully using real-time data such as that offered by Google Maps.