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Filling Up: Where in the UK is a litre of fuel the most affordable?

One of the many economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been that the price of oil has plummeted across the world, with a knock-on effect at the petrol pump.
 
However, the cost of filling up your car still varies depending on where in the country you live, with some drivers spending as much as 5p per litre more than others, which, if you’re filling up a 50-litre tank, works out at £2.50 a time!
 
For example, a litre of unleaded petrol in London and the South East will currently set you back £1.09, while in Northern Ireland, it would cost just £1.04.
 
Of course, earnings vary in different parts of the nation too, so where is fuel the most affordable? We’ve ranked the regions of the UK based on what percentage of the average wage there is spent on a litre of fuel.

Where is a litre of unleaded fuel most affordable?

Across the UK, the average cost of a litre of unleaded fuel currently stands at around £1.07, while the average hourly wage is £13.27, which means that the average person spends 8% of their hourly income on a litre of petrol.
 
However, that percentage is higher for many people around the country, particularly in the North East, where petrol costs £1.06 per litre, but the average wage is just £12.06 per hour.
 
In fact, it’s the more affluent areas of the country where petrol is the most affordable, with slightly higher fuel costs, but significantly higher earnings.
 
For example, in London, fuel is amongst the most expensive in the UK, at £1.09 per litre, but earnings are also much higher, at £16.45 per hour, which works out at an affordability percentage of 6.62%.

Where is a litre of diesel most affordable?

Diesel is slightly more expensive than unleaded, with an average cost of £1.12 per litre, compared to £1.07.
 
The gap between the cheapest and most expensive regions is also smaller when it comes to diesel, which costs £1.14 in London and the South East, compared to £1.09 in Northern Ireland, a difference of just 5p.
 
Again, London comes out as the most affordable region, with a litre of diesel costing 6.92% of average hourly earnings, with the North East the least affordable, at 9.19%.

Brought to you by our car insurance experts.

Sources

Affordability percentage calculated by dividing the average price per litre by the average hourly wage. Affordability = Average Price per Litre of Fuel ÷ Average Hourly Wage
 
Average price to fill a tank calculated based on a 50-litre tank.

Average hourly wage
Median gross hourly pay sourced from Table 8.5a of the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) earnings and hours worked, place of residence by local authority dataset.

Average fuel price per litre
The average price per litre of unleaded and diesel fuel in garages and supermarkets, according to Forecourt Trader’s weekly retail fuel prices for May 25th 2020.

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