Only a tiny fraction of motorists (3%) will go out of their way to buy branded fuel according to a new study commissioned by ContractHireAndLeasing.com.
The majority of motorists appear to choose where they buy their fuel based on cost alone (42%), while other important factors include proximity of the fuel station to the driver’s current location (10%) or the station’s proximity to home (9%).
In the survey of 2,007 UK adults, a further 8% were found to be lured to a station that offers them a chance to earn points or collect loyalty rewards. A further 4% choose to buy supermarket branded fuel.
While convenience seems to be an important factor, cost is the over-riding consideration. In this situation, supermarkets tend to have the upper hand as they are often the first to cut prices; they also lure motorists with offers of loyalty rewards and are usually very convenient to access.
While drivers aged 65+ are the most likely to prioritise buying the cheapest fuel (at 47%), young motorists in the 25-34 age bracket are the most likely to favour a fuel station close to home, polling 14% of the vote in this age group.
Meanwhile those in the 35-44 age bracket are the most likely to report that they prefer to buy supermarket fuel (at 8%), probably finding it convenient to fill up the car while they fill up their trolley too.
Motorists in more rural regions such as Wales, and Yorkshire & Humber are more likely to report a preference for stations which are close at hand or near home. Sixteen per cent of Welsh motorists choose a fuel station close to home, while a matching percentage of Yorkshire & Humber drivers choose a station based on their current location.
The survey revealed that drivers in these regions are also the least likely to favour branded fuel with just 1% stating that is their preference.
Yorkshire & Humber based motorists are also the least likely to report that cost is the most important factor in selecting a fuel station at 28%, compared to 47% of drivers in the Eastern, East Midlands and South West regions.
"While it is understandable that motorists prioritise finding the cheapest fuel, it does make sense to also consider how far away it is. says Dave Timmis, managing director of ContractHireAndLeasing.com.While it is tempting to go chasing the cheapest deal, sometimes it does not make economic sense."
"It also interesting to see the impact of supermarkets retailing fuel; while motorists don’t appear to pledge much loyalty to either supermarkets or brand fuel stations, they are lured by offers, convenience and price - areas which supermarkets often excel in.
"Fuel is expensive in the UK, but fuel stations are all working hard to gain your custom; particularly in urban areas where competition is fierce.
"As we already know, those in more rural regions are often subjected to higher fuel costs, due in part, to a lack of competition. In this circumstance, motorists appear to be more ready to just accept the cost and focus more on the convenience factor," he adds.