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Motorists wasting millions driving further for cheaper fuel

British motorists who drive out of their way for cheaper fuel could in fact be wasting almost £500 million collectively every month according to new research by MoneySuperMarket.

The company’s Focus on Fuel report revealed nearly two-fifths of all motorists (38 per cent) drive further to save just 1p per litre when filling up at the pump.

However, this could prove to be counterproductive as going the extra miles in search of cheaper fuel means people could be throwing money away. Overall £193 million is wasted in petrol, while £273 million is lost in diesel.

This equates to UK petrol drivers wasting £8 a month, with diesel vehicle owners throwing £21.30 away.

Unsurprisingly, price was confirmed as the biggest influence when consumers are deciding where to buy their fuel, with 84 per cent choosing that option. However, convenience also ranked highly and was mentioned by 83 per cent of motorists.

Loyalty cards such as Nectar are valued by many individuals and more than half (56 per cent) said the vendor’s participation in a scheme influences their purchasing decision.

Meanwhile, the brand of retailer impacts the decision of 16 per cent of drivers.

The report has also identified the tipping point at which driving extra miles means drivers are wasting money. Going more than two miles for a 1p per litre saving makes this journey completely pointless and the benefit of saving 2p per litre is cancelled out by driving for more than four miles.

However, driving just one extra mile to pay 5p per litre less on fuel will give motorists a saving of £2.29 when filling a 50 litre tank.

Clare Francis, consumer finance expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “It’s no surprise cash strapped motorists are seeking out cheaper petrol prices. The cost of fuel accounts for a huge proportion of household outgoings and with prices on the up many drivers are doing all they can to spend as little as possible running their vehicle.”

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