It costs £3,300 a year more to live in the countryside

Those who live in the countryside pay more for almost everything – from petrol to central heating

Households in the countryside suffer a £3,300 “rural living penalty” as they pay more for everyday services than urban dwellers, analysis has found.

By Sam Meadows

The cost of essential goods for those in rural areas is rising significantly faster than the national average, according to heating firm BoilerJuice Connected, which analysed figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Rural dwellers, who are more likely to need to drive, will spend £535 more on petrol each year and an additional £561 on cars and vans.

They are also forecast to spend £354 more on “domestic fuels” than city inhabitants. The firm said this could be because 1.5 million households use heating oil rather than mains gas.  

Rural homes are far less likely to have energy-saving technology such as smart meters installed – 43pc of city homes have one compared to 34pc in the countryside.

Lee Cowles of BoilerJuice said: “Although living in the countryside can be wonderful, rural life is a financial challenge, particularly for those on lower incomes.”

The firm said households could save money by investing in insulation. A fifth of homes in rural areas fall into the lowest two categories on energy efficiency, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Those on low incomes can receive support from their energy supplier to make their homes more efficient as part of the “energy company obligation” scheme.

The firm also recommended weighing up whether the distance from home to supermarket meant that using a delivery service would be more cost-efficient than driving. Some supermarkets also offer cashback on petrol for those who spend a certain amount.

Owl thinks it is essential to protect local services – use it or lose it.


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