Petrol postcode lottery – the most and least affordable fuel across the UK

Petrol postcode lottery – the most and least affordable fuel across the UK
Petrol postcode lottery – the most and least affordable fuel across the UK

Drivers in London enjoy some of the most affordable fuel prices in the UK, despite it being the country’s most expensive city.

A comparison of regional fuel prices and average salaries has revealed where motorists spend the largest and smallest proportions of their earnings on fuel.

And, thanks to their relatively high earnings, drivers in the capital spend less on petrol than almost anywhere else in the country.

At a regional level, Londoners are the best off, spending just 5.36 per cent of their hourly wage on a litre of fuel but on a city level St Albans is actually the cheapest, with drivers spending 4.2 per cent on a litre of petrol.

Cheapest cities

Apart from St Albans, Guildford (5.2), Cambridge and Edinburgh (both 6.2) are the cheapest cities outside of London for fuel relative to average salaries.

On average, Londoners spend 5.36% of their wages on fuel, compared to the 95% for drivers in Hull. (Picture: Shutterstock)
On average, Londoners spend 5.36% of their wages on fuel, compared to the 95% for drivers in Hull. (Picture: Shutterstock)

In contrast, drivers in Hull, Leicester and Lancaster aren’t so lucky. Motorists in Hull have to spend almost a tenth (9.5 per cent) of their hourly earnings to buy a litre of unleaded. While those in Leicester (9.3) and Lancaster (9.2) are hardly any better off.

The 5 most affordable by local authority

  1. St Albans – 4.2%
  2. Central London – 4.4%
  3. Guildford – 5.2%
  4. South London – 5.4%
  5. West London – 5.6%

The comparison by GoCompare used Office of National Statistics data on earnings and fuel prices from Petrolprices.com.

Regional variations

Regionally, London and England’s south-east (6.74 per cent) and east (6.77) top the table for the most affordable fuel, with Scotland (7.37) and Wales (7.56) completing the top five.

Read more: How will a no-deal Brexit affect fuel prices?

The 5 least affordable by local authority

  1. Hull – 9.5%
  2. Leicester – 9.3%
  3. Lancaster – 9.2%
  4. Lincoln – 9.2%
  5. Stoke-on-Trent – 8.9%

Drivers in the East Midlands are hardest hit, spending an average of 8.37 per cent of a hour’s salary on a litre of fuel. That equates to five hours’ work to fill a Ford Focus. Behind them, those in the West Midlands (8.18) and north east (8.05) are hardest hit.

Within regions fuel prices can vary wildy and the data showed differences of up to 35p per litre within a single region.

World’s extremes

Although there are places in the world where fuel costs as little as 1p per litre, when it comes to comparing petrol prices with earnings, the US is the world’s cheapest country.

Drivers there pay an average of just two per cent, while at the other end of the scale those in Greece shell out 14 per cent.

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