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Motorists losing £11 a month on false bargain hunt

Most of us love a bargain and many will go to extraordinary lengths to find one. We have all heard the stories of people who have driven miles to find the lowest petrol prices. Well, a new study has revealed those same motorists are wasting £11 a month. The findings indicate that around 43% of motorists would go out of their way to save just 1p per litre at the pumps.

The study, by price comparison site Moneysupermarket, discovered that driving out of your way to save money at the pump could be costing the nation a collective £528 million a month.

Of course that's not to say we should forget looking for the best prices and it doesn't mean you should rule out going slightly out of your way for a great bargain. For example if you were to find a 5p saving that's a mile out of your way you could save around £2.32 every time you fill a 50 litre tank.

The site also advocates the 2-for-1 rule to avoid driving too far to secure that 'cheap' fuel. It means that if you have to drive more than two miles out of your way to save 1p, you're wasting money. Likewise, you shouldn't go for more than four miles in order to save 2p per litre, eight miles to save 4p and so on.

Top Tips

Shopping around for the best deal locally is of course, the right place to start and looking at sites such as petrolprices.com can help you zone in on the best places to fill up. If you're planning a longer journey, it's also an excellent way to find petrol stations just a fraction off the motorway, which could save you a small fortune.

In general supermarket petrol stations are among the cheapest, and if you also do your weekly shopping there too, you may be able to collect redeemable points or vouchers with money off.

While these may be the obvious ways to save some money there are other aspects to consider too. By far the biggest difference you can make is to think very clearly whenever you have to replace your car. Spend time thinking about engine and vehicle – if you are interested in a larger vehicle is the extra power is really worth that additional cost per mile? And don't forget more 'alternative' options too. The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) report a 300% increase in the sale of electric cars from the year January 2014 to January 2015.

Dan Plant, consumer expert at MoneySuperMarket advocates sensible driving techniques in order to conserve fuel: "Avoiding heavy braking, harsh accelerating or excessive speeding can reduce the amount of fuel you use significantly. Keeping your vehicle road worthy is also important. Check your tyres to make sure they are at the right pressure, and ensure your car is regularly serviced as dirty air filters and oil can all have a negative effect on fuel consumption."

The study revealed that a number of drivers claim to be doing some or all, of these. 52% try to avoid harsh braking, 39% try not to accelerate too rapidly, 35% aim not to drive too fast, 60% keep their tyres at the right pressure while 57% make sure their car is serviced regularly.

Do you have any tips to share to either find the best price of fuel or make your tank go further?

By Tracey McBain..