How to Save Money on Fuel as Petrol and Diesel Prices Hit Record Highs in India

Fuel prices in India have been rising continuously for the past few months, reaching new highs every day. On July 17, 2023, petrol in Delhi was being sold at Rs 96.72 a litre while diesel was being sold at Rs 89.62 a litre. In Mumbai, petrol was available at Rs 106.31 and diesel at Rs 94.27 per litre. In Kolkata, petrol was Rs 106.03 and diesel was Rs 92.76 per litre. In Chennai, petrol was being sold at Rs 102.63 and diesel at Rs 94.24 per litre.

The main reasons behind the skyrocketing fuel prices are the rising global crude oil prices and the high taxes levied by the central and state governments on petrol and diesel. According to the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), the price of Indian basket of crude oil increased from $55.99 per barrel in January 2023 to $74.58 per barrel in June 2023, an increase of 33%.

On the other hand, the taxes on petrol and diesel account for more than half of their retail prices. According to PPAC, as of July 1, 2023, the central excise duty on petrol was Rs 32.90 per litre and on diesel was Rs 31.80 per litre. The state value-added tax (VAT) varied from state to state, ranging from 16% to 39% on petrol and from 9% to 28% on diesel.

The high fuel prices have a cascading effect on the economy and the society, as they increase the cost of transportation, production, and consumption of goods and services. They also affect the inflation rate, the fiscal deficit, the current account deficit, and the exchange rate of the rupee. They also impact the environment, as they increase the carbon emissions and pollution levels.

Given this scenario, how can you save money on fuel as a car or bike owner? Here are some tips and tricks that can help you reduce your spending on petrol and diesel.

Use co-branded fuel cards or pre-paid fuel cards

Oil marketing companies like Indian Oil, HPCL, and BPCL have tied up with major banks to offer co-branded fuel credit or debit cards. By subscribing to these cards, you can get benefits like rewards points on fuel purchases and waiver of fuel surcharge, etc.

For example, the IndianOil HDFC Bank Credit Card promises to give up to 50 litres of free fuel every year. It gives 5% back as fuel points (2 years validity) on paying your fuel bills at IndianOil outlets. You can redeem fuel points as paying for fuel or shopping via HDFC netbanking or credit card cashback.

Besides the co-branded cards, oil retailers are also offering prepaid fuel cards. By purchasing these cards, you can get reward points with every purchase of fuel as well as lubricants at their outlets. You can redeem these points for shopping on their websites or apps.

For example, the Payback HPCL Rewards Program earns you payback points on your fuel purchases at HP stations. You earn 4 payback points on every Rs 100 spent when you pay via HP Pay app. Here, one payback point = Rs 0.25. Thus, you earn 1% of your fueling bill. You can redeem these points as HP Pay wallet balance and then pay for fuel via the app.

However, before opting for these cards, you should check with card issuers if there are any processing fees or hidden charges that may offset the benefits they offer.

Use digital wallets or online platforms

While digital wallets or online platforms do not offer any fuel purchase specific rewards, by spending through them for petrol and diesel make you eligible for reward points or cashback similar to other transactions.

For example, Fyool App gives you cashback for uploading your petrol, diesel, or CNG bills. Currently, the app gives 50% cashback on all fuel categories. You can redeem this cashback for shopping on the app from categories like baby products, household care, kitchen tools, electronics, mobiles, clothing, etc.

Using digital wallets or online platforms also saves you from the hassles of carrying cash and cards and gives you more convenience and security.

Maintain your vehicle properly and drive efficiently

One of the best ways to save money on fuel is to maintain your vehicle properly and drive efficiently. Small things like changing the engine oil at regular intervals, clearing clogged air filters, and maintaining the proper tyre pressure go a long way in reducing the fuel consumption of your vehicles.

According to a study by the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), a government agency, proper maintenance of your vehicle can save up to 10% of fuel.

Similarly, driving efficiently by minimizing accelerating and braking, changing gears earlier, and sticking to the speed limit can also save up to 10% of fuel. According to PCRA, while a careless driver may cover 1000 km on 280 litres of diesel, an efficient driver would need only 250 litres to cover the same distance.

Avoid bad driving habits and unnecessary trips

Another way to save money on fuel is to avoid bad driving habits and unnecessary trips. Bad driving habits such as switching off the engine while in gear, clutch riding, delayed gear changing, and rash driving are some of the practices that consume more fuel and damage your vehicle.

According to PCRA, avoiding these bad driving habits can save up to 5% of fuel.

Similarly, unnecessary trips such as short distances that can be covered by walking or cycling, multiple trips that can be combined into one, or peak hours that can be avoided by planning ahead are some of the situations that waste more fuel and time.

According to PCRA, avoiding these unnecessary trips can save up to 20% of fuel.

Compare fuel prices online or on the radio

One of the simplest ways to save money on fuel is to compare fuel prices online or on the radio before filling up your tank. Fuel prices vary from state to state and from outlet to outlet depending on various factors such as taxes, transportation costs, dealer commissions, etc.

By comparing fuel prices online or on the radio, you can find the cheapest and best quality fuel in your city or locality. You can also follow the ACCC Fuel Price Cycles, which indicate the best time to buy fuel based on the fluctuations in prices over time.

You can also know the daily rate of petrol and diesel through SMS. Indian Oil customers can get information by sending RSP and their city code to 9224992249 and BPCL customers can get information by sending an SMS to 9223112222 by typing RSP and their city code. Whereas, HPCL consumers can know the price by sending HP Price and their city code to 9222201122.

Here is a table showing the latest petrol and diesel prices in some major cities in India as of July 17, 2023:

CITYPETROL (PER LITRE)DIESEL (PER LITRE)
BengaluruRs 101.94Rs 87.89
ChandigarhRs 96.20Rs 84.26
ChennaiRs 102.86Rs 94.46
GurugramRs 96.84Rs 89.72
KolkataRs 106.03Rs 92.76
LucknowRs 96.56Rs 89.75
MumbaiRs 106.31Rs 94.27
New DelhiRs 96.72Rs 89.62
NoidaRs 96.65Rs 89.82

Conclusion

Fuel prices in India are unlikely to come down anytime soon, as they are influenced by global and domestic factors that are beyond our control. However, we can control our fuel consumption and expenditure by following some simple tips and tricks that can help us save money on petrol and diesel.

We hope you found this blog useful and informative. If you have any feedback or suggestions for us, please let us know. We would love to hear from you.