Britons' preferred fuel brands and their reasons
May 23rd, 2023, Janice Fernandes

Britons' preferred fuel brands and their reasons

Petrol prices have fallen to an 18-month low in Great Britain, even as supermarkets face criticism for their increased profit margins. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has expressed concerns about weak competition between retailers leading to higher prices. In this article, we analyse data from YouGov Profiles to explore the fuel brand preferences of British consumers who own petrol or diesel cars and examine the reasons behind their choices.

The data shows that supermarket-owned fuel stations are the preferred choice for Britons, surpassing other brands. Over a third of Britons (36%) say they bought fuel from Tesco in their last ten purchases, making it the most popular brand among the surveyed group. Sainsbury's comes in second at 25%, followed closely by Asda (23%) and Morrisons (19%). Oil and gas companies such as BP (15%) and Shell (14%) attract fewer consumers. Esso accounts for 13% of British consumers, while Texaco is visited by only one in 20 respondents (5%). Jet and Co-Op both hold a 4% share of preferences.

The data reveals interesting insights into the factors that drive consumers to choose a specific brand of fuel station. 

Competitive pricing emerges as a crucial factor in attracting customers. Among those who prioritise low prices, it’s the supermarket petrol stations that come out top, with Asda leading at 65% of customers, followed by Tesco (57%), Sainsbury's (57%), and Morrisons (58%).

Convenient location also plays a significant role, with approximately half of customers considering it when making their decision. Consumers who frequent fuel stations owned by oil and gas companies are more likely to value proximity to home or their regular routes than lower fuel prices – BP (56% vs. 36%), Shell (50% vs. 41%), Esso (50% vs. 46%), Texaco (50% vs. 49%) and Co-op (42% vs. 34%).

Around a third of consumers who frequent Co-op petrol stations say they choose the brand because they have a good loyalty scheme (34%) - much more than any other brand. Over a quarter of consumers visiting Tesco and Sainsbury’s (27%) also share the same opinion about their favoured brand.

Nearly two in ten consumers choose Jet and Co-op because they like and trust the brand (18% and 19% respectively), the highest of all brands surveyed. Over a third of consumers who frequent Morrisons (37%), Texaco (35%) and Sainsbury’s (34%) appreciate the quick and efficient service.

On the other hand, the data highlights the least powerful reasons that influence consumers' choices. Discount vouchers appear to have the least impact, with percentages ranging from 3% (Tesco, Texaco) to 7% (Morrisons, Jet). Additionally, station facilities have relatively lower influence in all brands surveyed, except Co-op where 25% of consumers are motivated to frequent the brand because of the facilities provided.

On average only one in ten consumers frequent fuel stations because they like the convenience store on the same site. Sainsbury’s registers the highest share of 13%.

Notably, while high fuel quality is not the most influential factor for most brands it holds a relatively higher percentage for BP (19%), Shell (25%) and Texaco (19%) - it’s worth noting that these are all non-supermarket brands. This perhaps indicates that these brands have successfully positioned themselves as providers of superior quality fuel, resonating with a subset of consumers who prioritize this aspect of fuel purchase.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for Great Britain is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles

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