In the first edition of our new On The Road column, Kevin Hogan talks about fuel prices, where to fill up and where to avoid.
I was brought up in Yorkshire and, yes, I must admit, I am a little bit tight. I don’t like spending a penny more than I need to and so I know precisely at which local petrol stations I can get the cheapest fuel. But if I’m honest with myself, this shopping around doesn’t make a huge amount of difference in the long run.
I can get fuel for around £1.12 per litre compared to a national average of £1.18 per litre. Now if I did an average mileage in an average car, that would save me around £8 over a month, which is certainly worth having but will not make a huge difference to my finances.
Supermarkets are usually the best place to find cheap fuel and there are websites out there that will point you towards finding where the cheapest petrol stations are. Recently, though, I was shocked at a fuel receipt from one of the Hour Car Car Club members who had filled up at a petrol station along the motorway.
They had paid somewhere in the region of £1.40 a litre. Now, petrol prices have always been a bit higher at motorway service stations but surely there must be some mistake here. So I checked the prices on the motorways and no, there was no mistake. In fact it could have been a good deal higher, particularly if they had chosen one of the “high performance” fuels.
This is a rip off. This is petrol stations along the motorway lining their pockets at our expense. It is wrong in principle, let alone the money it costs us every time we fill up. Why not give the petrol companies a tenner tip every time you fill up on the motorway just because you are happy they are there?
I for one am going to try to avoid filling up on the motorway from now on. And if I am caught out I will do a “splash and dash” – just putting in enough to get me to where I am going. If we all do that, it won’t be long before they bring their prices down to a more reasonable level.
And for the record, those “high performance fuels” are almost certainly not worth the extra. I have read a lot about what experts think about this online and while not totally in agreement, the majority seem to agree that if your car is in reasonable condition the pricier high performance fuel will make little or no difference to the way it performs or its economy.