How much farther can you travel on a tank of fuel?

The price of fuel has fluctuated a lot over the last decade or more, impacting household spending.

The true volatility in fuel prices can be seen by comparing the cost of a journey now, with how much it would have cost you to travel the same distance back in 2005.

In 2015, UK households spent £30.7 billion on fuel – an indication of how integral travel by car has become to the lives of millions of people.

Take a look at our fuel calculator to find out how much your journey costs you now, compared with ‘back in the day’.

Fuel prices have risen slightly within the last few months, but the price of fuel remains relatively low.

Factored in with recent low inflation, this has helped boost the UK household’s average real wage and its spending power.

The proportion of all retail spending on fuel has gone down since 2010, partly as a result of a drop in fuel prices.

Spending on fuel as a proportion of all retail spending, 1996 – 2016, UK

In 2005, with petrol selling at 86.75 pence per litre and diesel costing 90.86 pence per litre.

Prices peaked in 2012, with petrol costing 135.39 pence (an increase of 56%) and 141.83 pence per litre for diesel per litre – an increase of 56% since 2005.

So, how much would we be saving on a journey, compared with 2012 prices? Let’s look at a journey such as the 151 mile trip from Cardiff to London.

Using the January to March average for 2016, the journey would cost £13.95, using an average petrol car and £14.01 using an average diesel vehicle.

In 2012, the same journey would’ve cost £18.59 for petrol cars and £19.47 for diesel.


1-Fuel Price data is taken from the monthly and annual prices of road fuels and petroleum products, produced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change

2- Data taken from NSA Consumer trends produced by ONS, CP, COICOP: 07.2.2 (Fuel and lubricants, 2015 Q1-Q4). View the Consumer Trends dataset.

3-Prices are annually except 2016, which is an average from January to March.

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