Motorists waste billions of pounds a year by trying to fill up for less

We all like a bargain, but sometimes we are so determined to save the pennies that we end up making false economies.

And it seems that our determination not to pay over the odds for our petrol and diesel sees us unwittingly wasting more than half a billion pounds every month, with efforts to find cheaper prices backfiring in spectacular fashion.

Research by Moneysupermarket has found that more than four drivers in every 10 are prepared to drive out of their way to save 1p a litre on fuel when filling up. However, the research also found that going more than two miles out of your way to save 1p a litre wipes out any savings. Likewise, going more than four miles out of your way cancels out a saving of 2p a litre.

Collectively, motorists are forking out an unnecessary £528m a month – or more than £6.3bn a year – in the process of trying to save money.

“It’s no surprise cash-strapped motorists are seeking out cheaper petrol prices, especially at a time when prices are finally falling – particularly for diesel – at some stations,” says Moneysupermarket’s Dan Plant.

“Yet while driving a bit out of your way for cheaper fuel might seem like a simple way of cutting costs, the reality is that it can be a false economy, and could actually cost you more.”

Mr Plant adds that the two-for-one rule makes it easy to work out whether a detour is worth it.

“Never travel more than two extra miles to hunt out each 1p per litre saving,” he says.

“However, if you’re lucky enough to find a 5p price difference, a round trip of up to 10 miles should leave you in profit.”