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

Town County Pence per litre (GBP)
WOOLACOMBE DEVON 139.9
TIGHNABRUAICH ARGYLL & BUTE 135.6
MARKFIELD LEICESTERSHIRE 134.7
ACHARACLE HIGHLAND 134.6
ISLE OF BENBECULA EILEAN SIAR 132.9
GRETNA DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY 132.8
LYMM CHESHIRE 132.6
ISLE OF ARRAN NORTH AYRSHIRE 132.0
LOCKERBIE DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY 131.9
FRESHWATER ISLE OF WIGHT 131.9

Most expensive diesel by town from January 2018 to April 2018

*Average price calculated based on modal statistics

Town County Pence per litre (GBP)
MARKFIELD LEICESTERSHIRE 139.7
ACHARACLE HIGHLAND 139.6
TIGHNABRUAICH ARGYLL & BUTE 137.9
WOOLACOMBE DEVON 136.6
ISLE OF BENBECULA EILEAN SIAR 135.9
FRESHWATER ISLE OF WIGHT 133.9
ISLE OF UNST SHETLAND ISLANDS 133.7
GRETNA DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY 132.9
LYMM CHESHIRE 132.7
WILLINGTON DERBYSHIRE 132.6

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.

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