Many motorists won’t have failed to notice that the cost of filling your car with fuel has been steadily rising over recent months. So, what are the key reasons behind the price hike and how can you make savings?

In the second half of August, unleaded petrol had reached 134.7p per litre, while diesel stood at 137.2p per litre, according to the Ageas fuel price tracker (prices correct as at 23rd August 2021)

In fact, August prices were the highest since 2013, according to the RAC motoring organisation. 

This has taken its toll on the many families who hit the road for a holiday within UK shores this summer, with 16m staycations planned during school holidays alone.

The fuel price increases follow a rise in the price of crude oil, which in turn reflects, among other things, greater confidence over the economic recovery. This is a small positive.

At least fuel prices haven’t reached the heady highs of 2012, when they were at record levels. On 13 April 2012, diesel prices hit a record high of 147.93p per litre on average, then on 17 April 2012, unleaded prices hit a record high of 142.48p on average.

So, will fuel prices continue to rise?

Prices at petrol pumps depend on broader influences such as the global economy and the impact of events such as the Covid pandemic. That makes prices hard to predict, meaning no one can say for sure whether they’ll continue to rise.

One fear is though that the improving economy – recovering from the pandemic – and subsequent continuing demand for oil will lead to continued price rises at forecourts[2].

Steps to save money on filling up your car

You don’t have to do anything drastic to save a decent amount of cash on petrol. In fact, small changes in your driving habits could save you money at the pump. To put this theory to the test, we put two drivers through their paces and you can see the results here.

In addition, here are three simple ways to save money on fuel:

  • Shop around: You can do this using sites like PetrolPrices - just enter your postcode and it will tell you the prices currently being charged at your local forecourts.
  • Don’t idle: If you drive a modern car with engine stop-start technology, which cuts the engine when the car is stationary, you can save on fuel consumption by keeping your foot off the clutch. Alternatively, if your car isn’t fitted with this technology, turn off your engine when you’ve been stopped for a minute or two.
  • Slow down: driving at a steady speed of 50 miles per hour (mph) instead of 70mph can improve fuel economy by 25%. But be sure to drive at speeds appropriate to the road you are on.

For more money-saving tips, see our guide, how to drive more fuel efficiently and save money at the pumps.

Use the Ageas fuel price tracker to help you plan your journeys.