Money Wellness
Image of a woman fill up her car at a petrol pump. Ways to save on petrol, diesel and fuel
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calendar icon29 May 2024

Brits pay the most for diesel in Europe

New research has found drivers in the UK pay the most for diesel in Europe. The average price of a litre of diesel at British petrol stations is 155p. This is 5p more than in Ireland and Belgium, which have the next most expensive diesel in Europe.

Despite a 5p per litre cut in fuel duty last spring, the also UK has one of the highest diesel tax rates in Europe, at 52.95p per litre - the same as Italy. But Italy's average diesel price is 7p per litre cheaper at 148p. Even in France, where the duty is only 1p per litre less than the UK, the average diesel price is 9p per litre cheaper at 146p.

The research, which was conducted by the RAC, found the average profit margin for UK fuel retailers on diesel is 18p per litre - 10p more than normal. For petrol, the margin is also high at 13p per litre.

The RAC fuel spokesman, Simon Williams, said UK drivers really should only be paying around 145p per litre for diesel if retailers were charging fairer prices. He said there's "no good reason" why British fuel sellers aren't cutting their prices.

In fact, in Northern Ireland where there's more competition, the average diesel price is 10p per litre cheaper at 144.9p, and petrol is 6p less at 142.4p.

The UK's petrol prices are the 11th most expensive in Europe, with the average litre costing 149p. Denmark has the priciest petrol at 175p per litre.

Top tips to fill up for less

Even though UK retailers are failing to pass on savings, there are still ways for motorists to reduce the cost of filling up their cars. Here are some of our top tips:

Compare prices at different petrol stations

Not all petrol stations charge the same price for diesel and petrol. Take a look at the prices at different stations in your area to find the cheapest option. You can even use apps or websites that compare fuel prices to make it easier.

Fill up your tank at the right time

Petrol stations often change their prices throughout the day. Many stations raise their prices in the morning and lower them at night. To save money, try filling up your tank later in the day or early in the morning.

Drive smoothly and avoid speeding

The way you drive can also affect how much diesel or petrol your car uses. If you speed up and slow down quickly, your car will use more fuel. Instead, try to drive smoothly and maintain a steady speed. This can help you save money on petrol in the long run.

Keep your tyres properly inflated

When your car's tyres don't have enough air, the engine has to work harder to move forward. This means it will use more diesel or petrol. Check your tyre pressure regularly and make sure they are properly inflated to help save on fuel costs.

Remove extra weight from your car

The heavier your car is, the more fuel it will use. Take a look inside your car and remove anything you don't need like heavy boxes or bags. This will make your car lighter and help you save money on petrol.

Use loyalty programs and discount cards

Lots of petrol stations offer loyalty programs or discount cards to help you save money. Sign up for these programs and use them every time you fill up your tank to get rewards or discounts.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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