With petrol prices still sky high, we now seem to have grown accustomed to paying upwards of £1.20 for fuel… with motorway service stations charging closer to £1.50, yet, not all that long ago, there was outrage at fuel prices spiking this high.
There was temporary relief when the price of petrol dipped under a pound, but temporary it was. In the good old days, a decade ago, you could find petrol priced at around 75p per litre, which made the cost of getting around significantly cheaper, which is why so many people are today investigating new options such as electric cars and alternative fuels.
A large proportion of the amount you pay is tax as the raw fuel itself isn’t all that expensive; this is evidenced by the comparatively low price of red diesel, which is used in commercial vehicles such as tractors, cranes and boats. It’s unfortunately illegal to use red diesel in your car, though Tonbridge Fuels can supply reed oil, sometimes known as gas oil, for commercial applications.
Unfortunately, fossil fuel is a depleting commodity; meaning prices will continue to rise as the supply becomes less, which is why so much attention and investment is being put into researching alternative fuels.
Here’s some interesting alternatives you might want to consider.
A significant amount of old diesel cars are fueled on leftover cooking oil, particularly in the Caribbean. This is essentially a home-made biofuel that can offer a comparable performance to regular diesel, but produces less emissions and is obviously a lot cheaper than the disel you would get from a fuel station; indeed it could even be free.
In the UK, a few hundred people use this method, often sourcing oil from fish and chip shops or pubs that get through a lot of cooking oil due to the amount of deep frying that takes in their kitchens.
There is a more refined version commercially available, in a similar way to standard diesel at a fuel station, but bio-diesel is always manufactured from either vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled cooking grease. Ironically, however, it tends to perform better in older diesel cars than the more sophisticated modern engines.
The trend of electric cars is absolutely booming; not only are they environmentally friendly they are extremely friendly on your purse or wallet too. Electricity is used to power all-electric vehicles which draw electricity from an external source and then store it in batteries. Interestingly, hybrid vehicles are fuelled with gasoline (or diesel) but use electricity to boost fuel efficiency.
LPG stands for liquefied petroleum gas and has been used throughout the world as a vehicle fuel for decades. LPG tends to cost significantly less per gallon than gasoline, and offers a comparable driving experience to conventional fuel, yet it can be harder to find than petrol or diesel as not all fuel stations have the infrastructure to provide LPG. From an environmental perspective, propane vehicles produce lower emissions than petrol or diesel, but are not as ‘clean’ as electricity.
In summary, there isn’t really a “hack” available for reducing the cost of your fuel this summer, it’s more about choosing the right car for your circumstances.