Drivers are feeling the pinch of the £80 fill-up and, as a result, are looking for ways to save money on motoring, according to a study of fuel bought by AA Credit Card holders.

Since August 2010 the number of visits made to petrol stations made by drivers paying with their AA Credit Card has fallen by 12%, from an average of 3.4 fill-ups per month to 3 at the end of April.  At the same time, the average spend per transaction has jumped by 17% from £38.65 to £45.10.

On average, AA Credit Card holders are now spending £135.57 per month at petrol stations*, compared with £131.41 in August, despite filling up less frequently.

In August 2010, the average cost of a litre of unleaded petrol was 116.5p (£5.29 per gallon).  In April 2011, this had risen by almost 20p to 135.8p (£6.17 per gallon). 

The findings confirm AA/Populus research earlier in 2011* which showed that in response to increasing fuel prices, 51% said they would drive less.

Mark Huggins, director of AA Financial Services, says that the AA Credit Card transactions underline that families really are ëfeeling the pinchí as car running costs eat into their budgets.

ìPeople are hanging on to their cars for longer and are planning to spend less** when they change their car, as well as making motoring economies.

ìHowever, fuel price increases donít altogether account for the increase in spending when drivers visit fuel stations, which suggests that they are combining trips.  I believe they are using the opportunity to fill up with grocery essentials for instance, as well as filling up their car and so avoid having to make a separate shopping trip later.î 

Mr Hugginsí view is supported by findings from the Office of National Statistics which suggests that smaller shops and convenience stores, including those attached to filling stations, have seen a 2.5% increase in sales over the past year, compared with a 4.1% drop in supermarkets.***

The AAís Credit Card is designed to reward motoring spend. The card earns points on all card purchases and double points on fuel.  Whatís more, AA members earn points at twice the rate of non members. Points can be redeemed for AA products and cash back, as well as a wide range of items, including high street shopping vouchers and special days out.

ìThe reward system helps to make your motoring pounds go a little further especially if you are an AA member.  Using the card for fuel and other motoring costs can offer up to 4% back if points are redeemed on AA products or services,î Mr Huggins adds. 

The AA Credit Card currently offers 0% on all card spending for the first 10 months.  Representative example 16.9% p.a. variable on card purchases. This is equivalent to 16.9% APR representative variable based on a credit limit of £1200.

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