Motor Insurance

Average Cost of Petrol for a Car 2024

With fuel prices up again, motorists are on track to spend well over £1,000 on petrol or diesel per car this year. See how much gas a typical petrol or diesel car guzzles each year and find out what you'll spend depending on your average mileage and the fuel efficiency of your own car.

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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.

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Average Cost of Petrol per Litre

In the spring of 2024, the average cost of motor fuel was £1.45 per litre for ultra low sulphur unleaded petrol and £1.54 per litre for ultra low sulphur diesel. Prices have fluctuated a bit in the first part of the year, but much to the relief of motorists across the country have remained below the prices seen around 2 years earlier. But interestingly the gap between petrol and diesel remains wider than historically—over the past 10 years, diesel averaged 6p/l more expensive than petrol, but now the gap is around 9p/l, making diesel less appealing than it was.

But compared to a year ago, diesel owners in particular are feeling more relief, because diesel prices had really skyrocketed and are now coming back in line. Compared to one year ago, owners of petrol cars paid 1% less at the pump in the end of March 2024 than they did a year earlier; diesel prices were down 7% over the same time period.

chart showing the average cost of petrol and diesel per litre in the UK
Motorists continue to pay more at the pump

How Much do Motorists Really Spend on Fuel?

Motorists spend an average of £1,095 a year to fuel a petrol and £1,284 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 6,000 miles a year while diesel cars drive 7.900 miles each year, contributing to higher overall annual fuel costs for the typical diesel car. The annual fuel cost figures below reflect these different mileage numbers.

Average Cost of Car FuelPetrolDiesel
Average distance travelled per year per car6,000 miles7,900 miles
Average car fuel efficiency36 mpg43 mpg
Motor fuel used per year164 gallons183 gallons
Cost of fuel per litre144.73 p/litre153.81 p/litre
Cost of fuel per gallon£6.57/gallon£6.99/gallon
Average annual cost of fuel for a car£1,095£1,284

*Note: mileage figures are from 2022, the latest available at the time of update. We used fuel prices from March 2024.

How do fuel costs compare for EVs vs petrol and diesel?

Even on a regular home electricity tariff, which is currently around 25/5p/kWh, an EV owner would spend 50% less on fuel than the driver of a comparable petrol car.

On an EV tariff—which typically has drastically reduced nighttime electricity rates, EV owners spend even less. Learn more about this and see charging costs for different cars in our article on the cost to charge an EV.

chart showing the cost of petrol and diesel for UK cars
ICE car owners spend well over £1,000 a year just on motor fuel; EVs are much cheaper to fuel.

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 145 p/litre for petrol and 154 p/litre for diesel in March 2024), the typical petrol car consumes £187 of fuel for every 1,000 miles travelled; the diesel costs £165—that's 12% less for the diesel car! A few months ago, the 'diesel discount' had all but evaporated but it is now back.

How Much Does Fuel Cost to Drive 1,000 Miles?
EV (charge at night on EV tariff)£22
EV (charge at home on regular tariff)£90
chart showing the cost of petrol and diesel per 1,000 miles driven
Diesel drivers spend 12% less on fuel per 1,000 miles than petrol drivers; EV drivers spend even less.

How much is petrol per mile?

On a per mile basis, the fuel costs in the range of 15p - 20p pence per mile for a petrol car; the fuel costs around 14p - 17p pence per mile for a diesel car. This is roughly 40% to 90% more expensive than the cost to run an electric car per mile—electric cars used to be a lot cheaper to fuel than petrol or diesel cars, but with the high electricity prices this difference has come down making electric cars still very attractive (but less so).

And this varies by engine size. A car with a larger engine (higher CCs, larger horsepower) will burn more fuel and have worse fuel economy/a lower MPG. That means cars with more CCs cost more in fuel per mile.

Cost of Petrol per MileAverage MPGCost per mile
up to 1400 cc4615p
1401 to 2000 cc4216p
Over 2000 cc3420p
up to 1600 cc5014p
1601 to 2000 cc4615p
over 2000 cc4017p

If you're reading this because you're an employer or employee thinking about per-mile expense reimbursements for work journeys, please read more about this topic here.

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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 typical car driving 5,000 miles a year costs around £933 in petrol while one driving 12,000 miles a year costs nearly £2,240 to fuel up.

Annual Cost of Motor Fuel by mileagePetrolDieselEV (EPC tariff of 24.5p/kWh)EV (EV tariff of 7.5p/kWh)
chart showing cost of car fuel depending on annual mileage

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 6,000 miles per year would pay £717 per year in petrol if their car achieves 55 mpg, while a car that guzzles 25 mpg costs their driver over £1,500 a year at the pump.

Annual Motor Fuel Costs by Fuel Efficiency (6,000 miles per year, petrol cost of 145p/l)
25 mpg£1,577
30 mpg£1,314
35 mpg£1,126
40 mpg£986
45 mpg£876
50 mpg£788
55 mpg£717
60 mpg£657
65 mpg£606
70 mpg£563
chart showing cost of car fuel depending on car fuel economy

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.

NEW! Car Fuel Cost Calculator

Want to figure out how much you're spending based on your mileage, car's MPG and your typical fuel cost? If you're not sure of your fuel costs, you can use current averages which are 1.45 for petrol and 1.54 for diesel per litre (March 2024). Enter your data into the fuel cost calculator below then click the yellow lighting button below to get your result.

If you'd like some different functionality for the calculator, let us know in the comments section below!

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the Founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.


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