by Clare | Apr 25, 2018 | Featured
Price increases happen to everything we buy, but we tend to notice it more when it’s at the pump and maybe that’s because we visit them often. When we do, the price change is noticed in every drop that goes into the car and what we pay at the till.
But in some parts of the UK, prices are more expensive because of unique factors at play. We’re led to believe that rural areas get hit hardest – something about being less cost-efficient to transport it there and lack of competition, and while the figures do tend to bear that out, there are some discrepancies in certain towns and we wanted to look at this.
PetrolPrices has conducted an analysis of average fuel prices across thousands of places in the UK using the modal average, meaning recorded instances of real prices. When doing this we have also made sure that a location must have at least two petrol stations in the search for it to qualify, this is to ensure that remote, rural locations are not included. The tables below for Unleaded and Diesel illustrate those places which are most expensive in the UK based on real pricing this month so far.
Most expensive petrol by town from January 2018 to April 2018
*Average price calculated based on modal statistics
||Pence per litre (GBP)
||ARGYLL & BUTE
|ISLE OF BENBECULA
||DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY
|ISLE OF ARRAN
||DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY
||ISLE OF WIGHT
Most expensive diesel by town from January 2018 to April 2018
*Average price calculated based on modal statistics
||Pence per litre (GBP)
||ARGYLL & BUTE
|ISLE OF BENBECULA
||ISLE OF WIGHT
|ISLE OF UNST
||DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY
These averages are based on modal statistics from the recorded prices. The modal average defines the most frequent price to appear within the data range.
Who are the worst and why
Woolacombe in Devon is the most expensive place for Unleaded in the UK and 4th most expensive for Diesel. Woolacombe has very few service stations, no supermarket competition and is remote relative to the nearest town Barnstaple, which is 15 miles away. The two stations located there take advantage of this isolation, and this is one example of high prices due to being in a remote holiday location, such as Freshwater on the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Man.
Markfield in Leicestershire has topped the poll for the most expensive place for Diesel in the UK for some time and is 3rd most expensive for Unleaded. The reason for this it has a junction of the M1 there connecting to the A50, so the four stations there have their prices artificially high to try to take advantage of drivers coming off or going onto the M1, where higher prices are expected at motorway services. Gretna, Lockerbie, Willington and Lymm are all similar in that they are all places which exist close to major roads, often where motorways intersect with A roads.
Motorway service station prices are very high because drivers are stuck in a captive market, stations push up their prices, their argument is the costs are higher, which is something the government wants to investigate with a official inquiry.
While being in a beautiful part of the UK, Acharacle is a remote place in the Highlands and regularly is in the top most expensive places for fuel. Tighnabruaich, Isle of Benbecula, Isle of Arran and Isle of Unst all fall in to the same category of fuel prices being high and in the top 10 due to the remoteness of their locations. That said locals in the Shetland and Orkney Islands do receive a subsidy which means that they can claim back a discount on fuel costs of up to 20% provided by the local council.
How to locate the cheapest fuel
We’ve listed the most expensive places to buy fuel, but if you live in those areas, there’s no escaping the fact that you’re paying higher prices, and travelling around the area to find the cheapest fuel is more important than ever, where competition is healthier, and therefore prices are lower.
As a general rule of thumb always look to see where the supermarkets are. ASDA and Morrisons are consistently in the top 100 cheapest locations in the UK. Sainsburys and Tesco also have low prices in the South as well. Where there are many petrol stations close together, this usually makes prices lower too. If you live an affluent area, drive to a less affluent area, generally, prices are a few pence a litre lower.
Moreover, if you haven’t already yet done so, use the PetrolPrices service – it will tell you exactly where to find the cheapest fuel in your area or nearby. You should also ensure that your car is working to the best of its abilities – tyre pressures can influence your MPG more than you realise. Around 90% of energy loss through rolling-resistance is down to the repeated changes in shape as the tyre rolls. Therefore, a correctly inflated tyre has a much lower rolling resistance. Remove anything that causes drag on the car and keep the windows closed and if possible air con down to a minimum.
Keeping fuel usage at a minimum is the best way of not giving the government nigh on 80% in tax, but what methods do you use to do that?
What do you think of these prices? Have you paid more than 137.0p per litre? Or is that the extreme that few of us never experience? Let us know in the comments below.
by Clare | Apr 18, 2018 | Featured
Despite the Government’s relentless efforts to dissuade people from driving diesel cars, new statistics from the Department for Transport have shown that their attempts have failed miserably as there are now more diesel cars on the road than ever before.
The data shows that a record number of diesel cars were registered at the end of 2017 with a total of 12.4 million of them being driven on UK roads, which is 308,000 more than in 2016. This suggests that people are not scared by the forthcoming vehicle excise and MOT changes, the toxicity charges in London and are just not ready to give their diesel cars up because the benefits of keeping one outweighs the incentives to switch to lower emitting petrol, hybrid or electric cars.
A record number of diesel cars
The statistics show that 2 out of every 5 of the 31.2 million cars that are on the UK’s roads are diesel cars, which is up 0.5% on the previous year despite there being a 16% drop in new registrations.
This is certainly not a stat that the Government were hoping for as they have been desperately trying to reduce the number of diesel vehicles on the roads over the last 12 months by encouraging people to opt for hybrid or electric models instead.
However, just 45,400 new electric cars were on the road in the last quarter of 2017 which means that the UK roads are home to 272 diesels for every one electric vehicle, which is barely an increase on the number recorded the previous year.
Petrol ownership has also been decreasing, with numbers falling since 2004. The end of 2017 saw 0.3% less petrol cars on the roads than there were at the end of 2016, with 59% of the total number of cars being driven running on petrol.
Why the Government’s plan backfired
For months the Government have been implementing plans to encourage people to buy cleaner cars, such as the new Vehicle Excise Duty making low carbon dioxide producing vehicles more expensive to tax, and surcharges being introduced for driving and parking high polluting cars in Central London.
With so much effort being put into eliminating diesel cars by the Government it may be surprising that there are actually more diesels on the roads now than ever before, but there a number of potential reasons for why this has happened.
Jack Cousens, Head of Roads Policy for the AA, stated that changes made to Vehicle Excise Duty by the Government were counter-intuitive as they have just ended up forcing higher tax bills onto those who would have preferred to buy a cleaner car. Instead, people are keeping hold of their older, more polluting cars which is the complete opposite of what the Government was aiming for.
Another possible deterrent for motorists is that they want to avoid the surcharges that they would face if they bought a new model, so they would prefer to stick with the vehicle that they currently drive.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, summed the situation up well by saying that the Government cannot eliminate diesel cars as quickly as they wanted to due to the fact that they are entrenched in our society, and that it will take years to significantly decrease the number of diesel vehicles on the UK’s roads.
It is argued by some motoring experts that the slump in new diesel car buying is only the beginning of the downward trend in diesel car use and that a small increase in diesel car use before the decline is logical, given the fact that more drivers are keeping hold of existing cars rather than trading up to a new one.
The Government are expected to launch a raft of new measures soon with their national Cleaner Air Initiative, which is likely to contain more limits and taxes on the use of older, high polluting vehicles to get them out of major cities. The measures implemented will start to have an effect and it will fall in 2018. Evidence of this is Jaguar Land Rover’s recent decision to lay off 1,000 staff, which they say is because of the fall in demand for new diesel cars.
Do you currently own a diesel car that you are keen to keep hold of and if so why are keeping it? Are you considering trading in your diesel car for a hybrid or electric alternative? Let us know in the comments below.
by Clare | Apr 11, 2018 | Featured
In total there are 182 different medical conditions that need to be declared to the DVLA which they consider could affect someone’s ability to drive safely, but many of these are not as obvious as others and are not being declared by many motorists who suffer from them.
If you suffer from one of these 182 different conditions and are involved in an accident, and have not notified the DVLA about this condition, you could face a £1,000 fine plus prosecution. It is important that all drivers are aware of exactly what they need to declare to avoid this.
Five medical conditions you must declare
The list of medical conditions which need to be declared to the DVLA consists of 182 separate issues, but many of these may not have been considered by motorists due to them not realising the affect they could have on their ability to drive.
The website; LeaseCar.co.uk carried out research on the most common conditions that drivers may not be aware of which they need to declare to the DVLA and this is the top five which people should be alerted about:
Although many people suffer from déjà vu every now and again the DVLA need to know if you have medically induced déjà vu which can be associated with epilepsy. This type of déjà vu is caused by a neurological anomaly which could affect an individual’s ability to drive, but those who get ‘standard’ déjà vu occasionally do not need to declare this.
2. Labyrinthitis (ear-ache)
Linked to an inflamed Labyrinth, which can be found deep within the ear, Labyrinthitis can cause headaches and hearing loss at different levels of severity, and often passes in a few weeks. However, it can also cause vertigo which may last a bit longer, and if a motorist is suffering from this it may make it dangerous for them to drive.
3. Sleep apnoea (sleep apnea)
A relatively common condition, sleep apnoea refers to when the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep which affects both breathing and sleeping patterns. This can lead to sleep deprivation which could result in the individual falling asleep behind the wheel. The DVLA have stated that anyone suffering from sleep deprivation for any reason should not be driving, whether this is due to sleep apnoea or any other condition. However, you can undergo treatment which will allow you to drive as normal, although the DVLA should still be informed.
Due to causing the sufferer to feel weak and dizzy, those who have eating disorders may be unable to drive safely which is why if you have an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa, you must inform the DVLA in order to cover yourself should you be involved in an accident.
Another common condition, arthritis affects around 10 million people in the UK and causes pain and discomfort in the joints of the individual. Any pain felt in the joints of the hands, spine, knees and hips could mean that the sufferer is unable to drive safely, and the DVLA should be notified if you use special controls or if your doctor believes they should know.
How to report a condition
If you feel that you may have a condition which could affect your driving you can access the full list on the gov.uk website.
If your condition does appear on this list you simply need to contact the DVLA who will be able to log this for you. You will be required to give up your driving licence if your doctor tells you that you must stop driving for 3 months or more, or if your medical condition means that you don’t meet the required standards for driving.
It is also important to know that this may affect you even if you suffered from the condition historically, so it is always safest to check this with the DVLA if you are unsure.
Were you aware of how many different conditions needed to be declared to the DVLA? Are there any on the list which surprise you? Let us know in the comments below.
by Clare | Apr 4, 2018 | Featured
Stricter new rules around MOTs are being rolled out across the country next month and could see drivers facing a fine of up to £2,500 if they are caught breaking any of them. The new fines cover areas such as not having a valid MOT certificate in place or not reaching new MOT standards, particularly around failing to reach new emissions standards from diesel cars.
The new rules will start to take effect on May 20th, but the worrying thing is that most drivers are not aware of the forthcoming changes, nor are they aware of the massive increase in fines for non-compliance of the new rules that are coming into place.
At the beginning of this year, we reported on a series of new measures put into place as part of the new MOT system that could catch out drivers. Now the rules are set to become law; drivers aren’t entirely aware of the new fine print that could end up costing them a lot of money, which can be up to £2,500 in some cases.
One example is putting your car in for the MOT early. If you put your car in for an MOT before it is due, and the vehicle fails, you could face a hefty fine if you continue to drive the car, despite the fact that the original MOT certificate still has a period left to run. That’s because if the car doesn’t get through the tighter new MOT rules, then it will no longer be classed as road legal, regardless of an existing MOT certificate or not.
The new rules starting in May will also include points on the licence and even a driving ban for drivers who are caught breaking them, which is unprecedented. Quite how this will be policed has not been made clear by the Government, and the Police have not indicated whether they would chase evaders from breaking the new MOT rules.
New confusing defect types
The new, more complex MOT rules also include a new series of defect types – dangerous, major and minor. There are also more strict rules on emissions for diesel cars, while cars that are 40 years or older could become MOT exempt.
RAC spokesman, Simon Williams, said “rather than MOTs being a straightforward black and white system of pass or fail, the new defect types could create confusion for drivers and testers. Each tester will have to use their judgement as to whether a defect is dangerous, major or minor and this could lead to differences from one garage to another.”
The types could also confuse drivers, especially between the dangerous and major fault categories. In the current system, if a car has a fault that means it fails the MOT, then it must be repaired before being used again. But under the new test, a vehicle with dangerous or major fault will automatically fail.
And, a minor fault on a diesel car could end up being a major one simply because of the fuel type. Any minor defects will be listed on the MOT certificate alongside the existing advisory notices system for things that the driver may want to get fixed before they deteriorate.
The new MOT rules also include yet more stress for diesel drivers with the introduction of more stringent regulations around emission testing. A diesel car can face an automatic fail if there is any smoke emitted from the exhaust in some cases. The diesel particulate filters or DPFs will also be checked, and if these are missing or altered, then the car will automatically be failed.
Other harsher tests revolve around the lights on the car. Reverse, front fog, and daytime running lights have all now been included as part of the MOT test. Reversing lights were introduced on inspections from September 2009 while daytime running lights were first added to tests in March this year. Front fog lights were also added last month.
Other tests being introduced next month include:
Obviously underinflated tyres
Contaminated brake fluid
Fluid leaks that pose an environmental risk
Warning lights for brake pads or if brake pads or discs are missing
You can sign up for a free text alert to remind you when your MOT is due which will tell you again if you haven’t had your car tested two weeks before the certificate runs out. You will need your number plate, mobile number or email address to sign up for this new service and avoid the chance of a fine for having no MOT in place.
What do you think of the new MOT rules? Are you as confused as we are about the changes? Do you think these fines are enforceable or will it go the way of the £75 million in missing road tax each year and very few fines? Let us know in the comments.
by Clare | Mar 28, 2018 | Featured
Newer cars with free sat nav updates
Subaru isn’t the only manufacturer offering free sat nav software updates on newer cars, Volvo and Volkswagen give free lifetime updates with their new models, whereas updating the sat nav in an older Volvo will cost £125.
Audi’s Navigation Plus systems come with five free updates but owners will be charged a fee for any updates made after this, however, the fee associated with this is currently unknown. Ford offers 7 years of free sat nav upgrades with their new models, but the price after this also unknown.
HERE Technologies, a mapping data provider, stated that manufacturers receive regular map updates but it is up to them how often they share these and how much they charge for them, or if they want to enable their customers to have them for free.
The cost itself is said by manufacturers to be mostly made up of the software packages which they pay for plus the labour costs associated with updating the sat nav itself, although why this differs so much between manufacturers is unknown.
Do you need an updated sat nav?
It may be that you are happy to use a map or print off directions rather than use a sat nav which could end up costing hundreds of pounds to update, but the convenience of being told directions as and when you need them is often something that just cannot be matched.
You may also wonder exactly what a sat nav update can offer you. In answer to this, Nissan stated that their latest European mapping software gives the driver access to an extra 1,439,809km of new roads, new street names, and better junction information, so you may actually feel like you are getting your money’s worth, but not if you seem to be paying way more than a lot of other motorists just because of the car you drive.
It is also worth remembering that if you tend to turn to your mobile phone and use this for mapping and directions you do run the risk of being prosecuted for using your phone while driving, so having a sat nav in the car reduces the risk of prosecution, but it is easily just as distracting as using sat nav software on your mobile device.
Do you think that you pay too much for in-built sat-nav upgrades? Would you be tempted to choose a car from a manufacturer offering free sat nav upgrades as a bonus? Let us know in the comments below.
by Clare | Mar 21, 2018 | Featured
In the Autumn Budget, a range of changes to vehicle excise duty (VED) were announced that impact many motorists. But a new survey by Confused.com shows that 90% of us don’t really know how these measures will affect us when the changes happen. And with rises to cost of an annual VED being potentially as much as £500 for some larger new diesel vehicles, some motorists could be in for a nasty surprise in the coming months when they renew their road tax for the new year.
New vehicle excise duty rules
The most important changes announced in the last budget was around vehicle excise duty and the new rules mean that they will increase for owners of new diesel cars from April 1st. The change could see some vehicles paying more than £500 in tax in the first year of ownership.
A recent survey showed that 87% of drivers were unclear about the changes or were unaware that the new diesel duty system was coming in. The new rules not only apply to diesel cars bought from April onwards but will mean all 17-plate diesel vehicles will be one tax band higher. The aim of ministers is to put people off buying new diesel vehicles as much as possible.
Many diesel vehicles will be around £20 a year more expensive, but the bigger models will see a significant hike in cost for the first year on the road. Even the most efficient diesel model, the Peugeot 208 1.6-litre BlueHDI Active 75 which produces as little as 78g/km will be affected. This is despite it being the cleanest non-hybrid or electric vehicle on the market.
Some of the premium diesel vehicles such as the Mercedes Benz GLE 350d AMG 4Matic and the Range Rover 4.4 SDV8 could see their first year’s car tax rise from around £1,500 to around £2,000 when the new rules come in.
It is not just the big luxury vehicles that are being hit. Affordable family cars such as the Hyundai i800 PMV and the SsangYong Rexton SUV will also fall into the increased bracket with car tax costs rising by £500 a year.
Find the current vehicle tax rates table here
April 2017 changes
Apart from penalising diesel drivers, the aim of the new VED rules was to simplify the system and make it easier to see how much you would be paying. It followed the increase in VED for the first year, introduced in April 2017.
The new system is as follows for existing car owners:
• £140 a year for petrol or diesel vehicles
• £130 a year for alternative fuel vehicles such as hybrids or LPG
• £0 a year for zero CO2 emissions
This means that electric cars worth less than £40,000 will have no car tax. All vehicles worth £40,000 or more will have an added surcharge of £310 on top of the standard rate for five years. After this period the charge will drop back to standard rates.
The government also said that from 2020, a third change to car tax will take place with the bands being adjusted to match the latest fuel economy tests. This measures emissions outputs from the new style tests that have been implemented since September last year.
According to the survey from Confused.com not only do 90% of drivers they spoke to not understand the new changes, but some also had no idea that the first year’s tax would cost more than other years. For those who were aware, it does seem to have had an impact on their buying choices.
Three in five said they wouldn’t be buying a new diesel for their next vehicle and around one third said this was directly due to the increase in tax. 46% of the survey group felt uncertain about purchasing a diesel vehicle as they were unclear how it would be worked out financially for them.
Experts also believe that this isn’t the end of surcharges or increases in costs for diesel drivers. As the government works towards their aim of banning new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, more steps will be taken to discourage drivers – or make it too expensive to buy them new, or perhaps even second hand.
What do you think of these changes to VED? Are the Government tackling one problem at the expense of not hitting the other main causes of NOx, such as public transport, trucks, ships and central heating systems? Let us know in the comments below.