Fuel Prices Rise, Driving Habits Changing

Petrol prices may have fallen slightly but they remain high for motorists around the country, and due to inflation even further rises in the price of fuel look likely in the future. According to the latest AA Fuel Price Report, average petrol prices stood at 134.51p a litre in mid-October, compared with 135.61p in September, meaning motorists saw a slight reprieve month-to-month. Throughout the summer, the cost of petrol averaged 135.5p a litre, with a peak in May record of 137.43p a litre.

Over the summer, a family running two cars typically spent £241.54 more this year than they did a year ago. However, the higher prices may have had some benefits in terms of road safety, with people generally taking it a bit easier behind the wheel to get the most out of their hard-earned fuel.  Slower driving not only leads to safer roads and savings on petrol costs, it could also mean lower car insurance premiums if it leads to fewer accidents for a sustained period of time – something that benefits everybody. With this in mind, more motorists are trying to find out how they can alter their driving habits and contribute to better motoring while saving some cash. What will it take to get more people to change their habits?

Recently, British Car Auctions published research showing that the rising cost of fuel is now the biggest factor affecting drivers behaviour and choice of cars. In a survey of 4,000 motorists, 27 per cent said they were looking for a vehicle with better fuel consumption, compared with 17 per cent who said they were looking for lower road tax. One quarter of those surveyed said fuel prices of up to £1.40 a litre would force them to change how they drive, while a further ten per cent would hold out until prices hit £1.50. With a drop in two-car families, this means the remaining car will have to work that much harder, said Tony Gannon, communications director at British Car Auctions. We are likely to see households keeping cars for longer and not changing them until mileages are much higher. He added: Our research shows that motorists have several measures in mind to curtail their frontline motoring costs. Unsurprisingly, 39 per cent said they would like to see a reduction in fuel duty if they were in power, while more than one in five said they would tackle the national fuel price. How can I reduce my fuel consumption when driving?

One of the simplest and most obvious ways to reduce your fuel consumption is something everybody should be doing anyway: observe the speed limit at all times. Petrol mileage decreases rapidly at speeds of over 60mph, so the steadier you go, the more you save – not to mention reducing the risk of having an accident or being picked up by the police for speeding, both of which can have dire consequences for your car insurance premiums. Driving more gently, by avoiding harsh acceleration and heavy braking, and changing gear at a more modest engine speed will also contribute to more fuel in your tank over time. Other ways to get more petrol for your money are to reduce excess weight in the car. By avoiding carrying unnecessary heavy items around, you can improve your miles per gallon significantly, although this will be more noticeable in smaller cars than larger ones. Leaving the engine idling when parked is another way to waste fuel, as is using air conditioning when it’s not needed. There are a number of training courses available that will teach these skills and many more to make you a safer driver, which could also mean you qualify for lower car insurance premiums.

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