The cost of petrol just keeps on rising – and these days the school run can be as costly as the weekly food bill.
The average price of a litre of unleaded petrol hit a record 137.44p at the beginning of March, according to the AA. Diesel is also reaching record highs, climbing to 144.67p a litre at the beginning of the month.
Campaigners have called on the Government to scrap the planned 3p hike in fuel duty in today’s Budget. But there are other ways to fill up the car without emptying your bank account.
Petrol Prices and Fuel Smart
First, why not sign up to PetrolPrices.com. It’s free to join and you can then find the cheapest petrol station in your area. All you have to do is type in your postcode and all the relevant information appears on the screen. The difference between the highest and lowest price per litre might only be pennies – 4p in my case – but it can quickly add up.
If you are a gadget junkie, you might prefer to download the Fuel Smart UK app, which does a similar job.
Supermarket petrol deals
The big supermarkets often sell fuel at competitive prices. But you should also watch out for petrol promotions. Tesco, for example, was recently offering 10p off every litre of petrol for every £60 you spent in the store.
Morrisons then upped the ante, cutting the price of petrol by 15p a litre for customers who spent at least £60 in the supermarket.
Another tip is to sign up for a supermarket loyalty scheme such as Nectar or Tesco Clubcard. You can then collect points when you buy petrol, which you can eventually turn into pounds.
Cashback on fuel spend
Finally, a cashback credit card can be a good way to pay for your petrol because you earn cashback every time you spend. Santander’s 123 credit card pays 3% cashback when you buy fuel, 2% on department store spending and 1% when you use the card in the supermarket. However, there is an annual fee of £24, so you have to work out whether the card will ultimately save you money.
Another option is the American Express Platinum cashback card, which gives you 5% cashback on up to £2000 in the first three months. Capital One also offers 5% on the first £2000 spend within three months.
For more tips on cutting your car costs, see this video with MyFamilyClub CEO Gemma Johnson.
Naomi Caine was editor of The Sunday Times Money section for six years before she moved out of London to bring up a young family. She now juggles two children with a freelance career, and has written for a variety of publications, including MSN, Yahoo, The Times, The Sunday Times, Which? Money, Money Week and The Sunday Herald.