Can you spend less on petrol?


There are some things I don’t mind spending money on.

Decorators and builders always seem like money well spent, for example. It would take me more time than them, to do a worse job, and the money I wouldn’t earn outweighs what they cost.

Netflix. Apple TV. Broadband. All no-brainers.

For some reason, though, I’m always conflicted about petrol. I’m aware I probably spend a lot on petrol, in the scheme of things.

I’d love Flea to walk to school but her school is around eight miles away, so I drive there and back, twice a day. While we’re making a real concerted effort to shop locally this year, I need the car if I want to go to the cinema (next town over) or to the health club where we often go swimming (also, next town over, in the other direction).

Then there’s work – although this time of year isn’t too hectic, there are still a reasonable number of trips we take on the motorway – to London for meetings, or to Manchester, for shopping or seeing friends.

Over the past month, I was asked by Tesco to track just how many miles I drove, and what it cost me – and in return, they provided some vouchers to cover the cost of my petrol for the month.

I admit I was quite shocked to find that over a period of 30 days, I drove 2,334 miles. That’s not far off the distance from New York to Los Angeles which – frankly – would be a far more entertaining use of my time than sitting on the M6 watching my finite life span trickle away as my Honda crawls from one set of roadworks to the next…

Using an online estimator, I reckon the cost of all that driving (not including pesky things like depreciation, insurance and road taxes) was a smidge over £390. Assuming last month was typical, that means in a typical year, I’m driving around 24,500 miles and spending £4,500 a year on petrol.


The good news though, if you’re a Tesco shopper, is that there’s a way to offset some of that spending. The new Tesco Fuel Save scheme lets customers who have loyalty cards collect points towards fuel discounts. The fuel save points are accumulated alongside your regular loyalty points, so you don’t miss out by using the fuel scheme, too.


The scheme works by giving customers 2p off the cost of each litre of fuel, for every £50 they spend, up to a maximum discount of 20p/litre. The points accrue over each month, so the more you spend, the more you’ll save. I’ve done a bit of research and if we collected the points on our grocery spend of just over £300 a month, then we’d save around 12p/litre, or 10% on our fuel costs. That’s £450 a year given my mileage.

Sure, it’s not earth shattering, but imagine someone giving you £450 and asking what you’d like to spend it on? Aren’t there a hundred things you could put it to better use rather than using it to fill up your car?

Of course, this scheme only works if you regularly fill up at Tesco, AND if you regularly shop there. But the idea of cutting my petrol bill by £400 is pretty tempting. You can find out more about the scheme here.


[Image: Shutterstock] 

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