Published: 15/04/2022

How to cut costs on commuting


Rising fuel costs mean rising travel costs.  Here are some tips how to cut your commuting costs.

A 3.8% increase in rail fares, and London tube and bus fares shot up by an average of 4.8%.

For those who drive, a bleak picture, with petrol prices soaring to record highs.

The Which? Money Podcast asked people affected by the cost of living crisis.

Here, we’ve summarised  their tips for saving money on car costs and train fares, as well as suggestions for using other modes of transport. If you’re struggling to cover commuting costs, here's some advice.

Cut car costs

  • Find cheap and free car parking
  • Change where you fill up, and how you pay
  • Cut the cost of your insurance

Keeping fuel costs down

Super-unleaded fuel is up to 15p per litre more expensive, so avoid using premium pumps at the station.

The price of petrol and diesel can vary dramatically across the UK. Comparison site can be used to find cheaper options near you.

Supermarkets are the cheapest place to fill up.

Make use of supermarket reward schemes Sainsbury’s and Tesco let Nectar and Clubcard holders earn points at most Esso stations. Save more with cashback or rewards cards.

Saving money on parking

There are apps to help you save on parking:

AppyParking helps you find free parking in your area, while Parkopedia shows you where the cheapest car parks are near you.

Saving money on car insurance

Compare the Market predicts that drivers could save an average of £119 by switching insurer.

Avoid unnecessary add-ons and pay annually rather than monthly, if you can.

You could also cut your insurance premiums by increasing your excess (the amount you pay upfront if you claim). How to choose the right excess on your insurance policy.

Saving money on train fares

  • Set up alerts for advance tickets
  • Use the season ticket calculator
  • Get a railcard

Train companies release tickets 12 weeks in advance, some even earlier. You can set up alerts with many so you’re emailed when tickets go on sale for a particular route.

Book your tickets in advance. Wait longer and likely the price will increase.

Use National Rail’s season ticket calculator if you only commute part-time, to find the best ticket for you.

National Rail’s new flexi season ticket, could save you £100s – depending what route you take and how often. Flexi season tickets could give you a 49% discount on some routes but for some journeys,  an annual ticket would be cheaper.

Railcards can offer good discounts.

So you’re not charged booking fees, save money booking tickets directly or via National Rail Enquiries or the train company,

You could see if it’s cheaper to get two tickets – one for each part of the journey. This is called split ticketing. It takes a few minutes to see if it’s cheaper, but the savings could be worth it, especially for longer journeys.

Using alternative modes of transport

  • Cycle to work
  • Try carpooling

Cycling to work could save a huge amount of money. Check out Which?’s guide on how to get a cheap bike.

Consider carpooling with a colleague who lives nearby or a neighbour with a similar route to work, or signing up to a car-sharing scheme.

How to save money by driving more efficiently

Simple changes to your driving style can reap rewards. Accelerate gently and shift up through the gears as soon as possible. Accelerating on flat roads, or with a gentle downward slope, consider skipping gears, such as moving from second to fourth. Not labouring the engine (when the revs drop too low), leads to greater fuel efficiency.

Anticipate traffic ahead. If you see stationary cars or red lights, ease off the accelerator, work your way down through the gears and let your car’s engine do the braking. You’ll need to apply the brakes eventually, but this technique will reduce wear on the brake pads.

Check your tyre pressure once a month – your car’s handbook will give the recommended levels – and ask for a wheel-alignment check at each annual service. Under-inflated tyres and misaligned wheels will drag down your car’s fuel economy.

Last updated: 26/04/2022