Petrol prices set to soar

Petrol prices are set to rise yet again, with experts predicting increases of up to 8p per litre by Christmas.

The news comes after a 20% rise in the price of Brent crude oil over the past few months, with a barrel now trading at around £50, the highest it’s been since June 2015.

The average UK petrol price currently stands at 119p a litre with diesel at 120p but this is likely to rocket over the coming weeks.

Piles of coins

Why the rise in petrol prices?

In November 2016, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Companies (OPEC), agreed a deal to reduce oil production after a global slump in demand.

OPEC consists of fourteen countries who are all major oil exporters and together make up almost three quarters of the world’s oil reserves.

By cutting production, the demand for petrol will begin to grow again and as demand grows, petrol prices grow too.

Saudi Arabia is one of OPEC’s founding members who, along with Russia and other producers of oil, have spoken in favour of extending the deal for another nine months, which could put further pressure on fuel prices.

If the average car uses 35 litres of petrol a week, the predicted increase of 8p a litre would mean an extra £150 a year slapped onto fuel bills.

How to reduce your petrol usage and save money

While none of this is great news for Britain’s 45 million motorists, there are some changes you can make to the way you drive or ride that will use less petrol and help reduce your fuel costs.

Make sure your tyres aren’t under inflated as this makes it harder for the engine to power the wheels and therefore uses more fuel.

Petrol pump

Stopping and starting uses more fuel than driving at a consistent speed so anything you can do to avoid this is a big help, like not making multiple short trips and instead, combining them into one longer journey.

Avoid rush hour if possible but if you do get stuck in a traffic jam, wait for the gap between you and the vehicle in front to become big enough that you can catch up in one go, rather than lots of short jolts forwards.

Try not to accelerate and brake hard as this will drain your tank quickly. Instead, if you’re approaching a set of traffic lights that are on red, slow down gradually by taking your foot off the accelerator and dropping gears to help reduce your speed.

Using the highest gear possible is the most fuel-efficient way to get around but if you need to speed up quickly, drop to a low gear to save pressing down hard on the accelerator and using more petrol.

As with most things, it always pays to shop around. Monitor the prices at petrol stations, particularly supermarket ones, as they are always battling to deliver the cheapest price.