Fuel is one of the biggest costs of car ownership next to the cost of car insurance, consuming a significant portion of the typical household budget. See how much motorists really spend at the pump each year.
Average Cost of Petrol per Litre
In July 2019, the average cost of motor fuel was £1.27 per litre for ultra low sulphur unleaded petrol and £1.32 per litre for ultra low sulphur diesel. Owners of petrol cars paid 1.8% more at the pump in the summer of 2019 than they did in 2018 on average; diesel prices were up 1.5% over the same time period.
How Much do Motorists Really Spend on Fuel?
Motorists spend an average of £1,042 a year to fuel a petrol and £1,265 for a diesel, for cars with average fuel economy. While diesel costs less money to buy and diesel cars get better gas mileage, diesel drivers tend to accumulate more miles on their cars each year—petrol cars rack up around 6,600 miles a year while diesel cars drive 9,400 miles each year, contributing to higher overall annual fuel costs for the typical diesel car.
|Average Cost of Motor Fuel per year||Petrol||Diesel|
|Average distance travelled per year per car||6,600 miles||9,400 miles|
|Average car fuel efficiency||36 mpg||43 mpg|
|Motor fuel used per year||183 gallons||219 gallons|
|Cost of fuel per gallon||125 p/litre||130 p/litre|
|Average annual cost of fuel for a car||£1,041.81||£1,265.10|
Annual Cost of Motor Fuel per 1,000 Miles
The amount you spend at the pump each year depends on three factors: your annual mileage, the fuel efficiency of your car and the cost of fuel. Given average fuel efficiency of 36 mpg for a petrol and 43 mpg for a diesel and recent fuel prices (around 125 p/litre for petrol and 127 p/litre for diesel), the typical petrol car consumes £157.9 of fuel for every 1,000 miles travelled; the diesel costs £134.3 or 15% less.
|How Much Does Fuel Cost to Drive 1,000 Miles?|
How much does fuel cost per mile of driving?
On a per mile basis, the fuel for a petrol car costs around 15.8 pence per mile and for a diesel car costs around 13.4 pence per mile. This is around 3X more expensive than the cost to run an electric car per mile.
Annual Cost of Motor Fuel by Mileage
Your fuel costs may be significantly lower or higher, however, depending on your typical average annual mileage. Below, we've calculated annual fuel costs for the average car for a range of mileages. For example, a car driving 5,000 miles a year costs around £790 in petrol while one driving 12,000 miles a year costs nearly £1,900 to fuel up.
|Annual Cost of Motor Fuel by mileage||Petrol||Diesel|
Annual Cost of Motor Fuel by Fuel Economy
The fuel efficiency of your car has a drastic impact on how much your car costs you each year to run. Cars with the best fuel economy (e.g., the Skoda Octavia which achieves around 67.3 mpg in the real world) cost a fraction of the price to run as a car with poor gas mileage (e.g., Land Rover Discovery or Mercedes S500 that get only around 26-27 mpg). For example, a motorist that clocks the average of 7,600 miles per year would pay just £785 per year in petrol if their car achieves 55 mpg, while a car that guzzles 25 mpg costs their driver £1,440 a year at the pump.
|Annual Motor Fuel Costs by Fuel Efficiency (7,600 miles per year)|
Newer cars tend to have better gas mileage as technology improves. So if your car is on the older side and you're spending too much at the pump, a new car upgrade might actually save you some money in the long term. Finally, implementing tips to improve your car's fuel efficiency can reduce your overall motor fuel bills.