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Petrol prices fall but drivers are still being overcharged

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Drivers are being punished at the pumps as fuel retailers are still failing to pass on savings from lower wholesale prices, the RAC says.

The motoring group called for fuel prices to be significantly cut last month after the oil price fell to under $60 a barrel and the pound strengthened to $1.29.

It claimed petrol was up to 7p a litre too expensive.

However, most of the supermarkets responded by knocking just 2p off a litre of unleaded.

The price of petrol fell by 1.5p a litre in October, making three consecutive months of cuts, according to data from RAC fuel watch.

The average price of a litre of unleaded dropped 1.57p to 126.42p at the end of the month from 127.99p at the start.

Diesel fell by 1.59p taking a litre to 130.49p from 132.08p – a change from September when it increased slightly.

This means the cost of filling a 55-litre family car with petrol has fallen back under £70 to £69.53 for the first time since March.

An equivalent diesel fill-up is now £71.77 from £72.64.

At the end of October, Asda was selling the cheapest supermarket unleaded at 121.64p a litre.

Simon Williams, RAC fuel spokesperson, said: “As things stand both petrol and diesel are still 2p too expensive and should really be reduced. Sadly, we suspect this is extremely unlikely as the wholesale market is now beginning to go the other way which will start to eat in to the accumulated saving that should have been passed on to drivers before.”

How to save money on fuel

If you are keen to save money at the pump, here are six top tips to consider:

a) Shop around for the cheapest fuel

Download the PetrolPrices app to keep you updated on the latest fuel prices while you’re on the road. It has all the filters you need to make sure you find the best fuel near you.

b) Make the most of loyalty offers

The big supermarkets often tempt customers into their shops by reducing their fuel prices. Sometimes they’ll offer money-off vouchers at the till for use at their forecourts, and discounts can be as high as 10 pence per litre – £5 per fill up.

c) Think about your speed

You’ll use up to 9 per cent more fuel driving at 70mph than you would at 60mph and up to 25 per cent more fuel travelling at 80mph instead of 70mph. Drive at the lowest speed you can, in the highest gear possible.

d) Get clever with hills

Steep inclines destroy fuel economy. If you spot a hill ahead, slightly speed up before you reach it, then reduce speed as you drive up.

e) Don’t use your air conditioning unless you have to

It uses the power of the engine which increases fuel consumption.

f) Consider making one round trip instead of several short trips. 

Engines work at their most efficient once warm. Starting a cold engine several times increases fuel consumption, even though your journey may involve the same number of miles.