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Fuel prices fall again in January – and more may be in store

fuel price drops

New data from RAC Fuel Watch has indicated that average fuel prices dropped once more in January – and by all indications, there are more savings to come.

The average price of unleaded fell by 1.32p to 120.92 per litre. That means it should cost an average of £65.78 to fill a 55-litre tank of petrol. That’s a not inconsiderable £6 drop compared to what it would have cost at the end of October.

Diesel, on the other hand, has dropped by just £3.78 per tank since October to £71.50 per 55 litres of fuel. In January, diesel dropped 1.27p down to 13.01p.

Find the cheapest petrol and diesel near you with our guide…

Supermarket super savings

In the UK’s four biggest supermarkets, fuel is down an average of 3p a litre to 116.66p for petrol and 125.43p a litre for diesel.

UK fuel prices – winners and losers

The North West and the East of England saw the biggest reductions in fuel – over 1.2p each for petrol and 1.4p each for diesel. Northern Ireland saw the smallest drop in the price of petrol, at 0.82p per litre, while Scotland saw the smallest drop in the price of diesel, at a measly 0.65p per litre. For comparison, every other region dropped by over a penny per litre.

More to come?

According to the RAC, there are still savings to be made for the consumer. Price drops on the forecourts are not yet commensurate with drops in the wholesale cost of fuel over the past few months. The RAC suggests that petrol could still come down as much as 3p per litre, and diesel 2p per litre in the next few weeks.

filling up with petrol

“While it’s obviously good news the price of fuel has fallen for three months in a row, the story behind the simple forecourt average figures is quite disturbing,” said RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams.

“Looking at the wholesale data over the last two months reveals that we should have been paying far less for our petrol and diesel than we have been.

“Unfortunately, three of supermarket fuel retailers appear to have changed their pricing policies for the long term by increasing the margin they take on a litre of petrol to about 2p. This has meant the average price of unleaded has not reduced by as much as it should have because smaller retailers nearby haven’t had to lower their prices as much in order to compete.”

UK petrol station

Petrol prices are continuing to creep up – and Brexit could be to blame

UK petrol station

The average cost of a litre of petrol hit 112.07p at the end of September – an increase of nearly half a penny since the start of the month, and just short of the 2016 high of 112.33p.

That’s according to data from the RAC’s Fuel Watch report, which also revealed that diesel hit a new high of 113.34p in September.

The organisation says it will now cost £61.63 on average to fill up a petrol-engined family hatchback – more than £5 extra for each fill-up compared to the start of the year. The equivalent diesel, meanwhile, will cost £62.34 to refuel – around £4 more than it did in January.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “A higher oil price, combined with a weakening pound, is forcing up wholesale fuel prices: the wholesale price of diesel is now nearly 9p higher than it was at the start of August, and petrol 7.4p higher. The effect of this to date has been gradually rising pump prices.”

The organisation says it doesn’t envisage an immediate hike in prices in October, but rising oil prices caused by a cut in production could have a larger impact on pump prices in the future.

“The new chancellor’s first Autumn Statement also looms next month,” adds Williams, “and the RAC hopes that he sees sense in committing to not increase fuel duty for the remainder of the Parliament – certainly compared to his predecessor’s track record on fuel duty, the new chancellor has a lot to live up to.”

Petrol prices could also be hit by the weakening pound – with sterling hitting a 31-year low against the dollar yesterday. Prime minister Theresa May dismissed concerns, telling reporters “currencies, of course, go up and down”.

UK petrol station

Fuel retailers are ‘exploiting motorists for personal greed’

UK petrol stationFuel retailers are paying less for diesel and petrol since the Brexit vote but these savings have yet to be passed onto motorists.

FairFuelUK has thus accused British fuel retailers of ‘opportunistic and abhorrent’ profiteering by not passing on the savings – adding that in some cases, fuel prices have actually risen.

The wholesale cost of diesel has fallen 1.67p per litre since the Brexit vote in June, says FairFuelUK. Petrol is even cheaper: it costs 3.65p per litre less. Despite this, average diesel prices are unchanged and the average price of petrol is up by 1p a litre.

It is independent fuel retailers who are to blame, says FairFuelUK founder Howard Cox. Supermarkets are starting to bring down pump prices but smaller forecourts are not.

“The Petrol Retailers Association should tell Britain’s 37 million drivers why their members appear to be increasing their profits since Brexit. Are they deliberately exploiting market and political uncertainty for personal greed?”

Retail fuel margins have risen nearly 2p a litre since the EU Referendum on 23 June, according to FairFuelUK research. Retail profits are up even more: from 6.23p per litre to 10.66p on every litre sold.

Of course, said FairFuelUK campaigner Quentin Willson, retailers need to make a decent profit, “but failure to pass on these wholesale falls is nothing short of opportunistic and abhorrent”.

Labour MP and Transport Select Committee member Rob Flello went further: “Motorists and professional drivers continue to be ripped off by an industry that hides the true costs of producing our fuels. The new PM has the chance to end this disgrace.

“Of course the fuel industry could voluntarily stop profiteering, but without government intervention there’s no sign of that happening.”

Drivers of gas guzzlers could pay to enter towns and cities across England

Quentin Willson: drivers of diesels are getting ‘fleeced’ at the pumps

Quentin Willson: drivers of diesels are getting 'fleeced' at the pumps

Petrol stations are making as much as 12p per litre from diesel as they fail to pass on lowering wholesale prices – prompting TV presenter Quentin Willson to demand an investigation.

Willson said: “We’re constantly stunned at the arrogance and indifference of the road fuel industry and the way they treat their end users with such contempt. Despite plaintive cries of only having a few pence profit per litre, the industry has over the last year been enjoying margins of 10p to 12p a litre on diesel.”

Through the FairFuelUK campaign, Willson has successfully been encouraging the Treasury to keep fuel duty rises frozen. But he says fuel retailers are operating a ‘silent cartel’ to avoid passing on the savings.

He added: “The very fact that this is now a sector known for its profit margins and strong cash flow is proof positive that there’s a lot of money being made by fuel retailers, despite their cries of poverty. Many investors are comparing petrol retailing to the cash generation of utility companies but without the onerous levels of regulation. We think that the extra cost to the UK economy from opportunistic fuel retailing is so significant that it warrants an independent investigation.”

Data acquired by the FairFuelUK campaign reveals that the average wholesale diesel prices over the last four weeks has been 96p per litre, compared to 100p for petrol.

But diesel prices have continually matched petrol prices at the pumps – with an average mark up on diesel of 9p per litre, compared to 5p per litre for diesel.

FairFuelUK founder Howard Cox said: “Wholesale petrol has been 5p higher than diesel for weeks and yet pump prices remain the same for both fuels. It’s clear following the Budget’s continuing freeze in duty due largely to our hard scrapped campaigning, those in the fuel supply chain are now returning to type. To unscrupulously fleece motorists, particularly those that fill up with diesel.”

Drivers of gas guzzlers could pay to enter towns and cities across England

Quentin Willson: drivers of diesels are getting 'fleeced' at the pumps

Quentin Willson: drivers of diesels are getting 'fleeced' at the pumps

Petrol stations are making as much as 12p per litre from diesel as they fail to pass on lowering wholesale prices – prompting TV presenter Quentin Willson to demand an investigation.

Willson said: “We’re constantly stunned at the arrogance and indifference of the road fuel industry and the way they treat their end users with such contempt. Despite plaintive cries of only having a few pence profit per litre, the industry has over the last year been enjoying margins of 10p to 12p a litre on diesel.”

Through the FairFuelUK campaign, Willson has successfully been encouraging the Treasury to keep fuel duty rises frozen. But he says fuel retailers are operating a ‘silent cartel’ to avoid passing on the savings.

He added: “The very fact that this is now a sector known for its profit margins and strong cash flow is proof positive that there’s a lot of money being made by fuel retailers, despite their cries of poverty. Many investors are comparing petrol retailing to the cash generation of utility companies but without the onerous levels of regulation. We think that the extra cost to the UK economy from opportunistic fuel retailing is so significant that it warrants an independent investigation.”

Data acquired by the FairFuelUK campaign reveals that the average wholesale diesel prices over the last four weeks has been 96p per litre, compared to 100p for petrol.

But diesel prices have continually matched petrol prices at the pumps – with an average mark up on diesel of 9p per litre, compared to 5p per litre for diesel.

FairFuelUK founder Howard Cox said: “Wholesale petrol has been 5p higher than diesel for weeks and yet pump prices remain the same for both fuels. It’s clear following the Budget’s continuing freeze in duty due largely to our hard scrapped campaigning, those in the fuel supply chain are now returning to type. To unscrupulously fleece motorists, particularly those that fill up with diesel.”

Petrol prices are on the up – but it’s not all bad news for motorists

Petrol prices are on the up – but it’s not all bad news for motorists

Petrol prices are on the up – but it’s not all bad news for motorists

The end of cheap fuel has arrived, with petrol prices going up by 3p per litre on average in March – the first increase in eight months.

Diesel prices also saw an increase of nearly 4p per litre, says RAC’s Fuel Watch, as forecourts pass on a rise in oil prices.

While this does signal the end of fuel for less than £1 per litre, the RAC says we shouldn’t start panic buying fuel.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “We hope the rebound in pump prices will be limited by the fact that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will not want to let the price go too far back up.”

If the price of oil goes back above $60 a barrel, US fracking becomes financially viable – something that will undermine the organisation’s work at safeguarding their market share.

Williams added: “It looks as though we are heading towards a new norm of the oil price fluctuating between lower and upper limits of $35 and $55 a barrel.

“This means that motorists should hopefully not see the eye-watering prices they were paying at the pumps in April 2012 when the average price of petrol was 142p and diesel was close to 150p per litre. Motorists will also be relieved that the Chancellor saw sense and listened to the RAC and other campaigning groups by extending the freeze on fuel duty in his Budget.”

Around the UK, Fuel Watch reveals that Wales saw the biggest increase in petrol prices last month – rising from 101.40p at the beginning of the month to 105.10p at the end.

Drivers of diesel cars were hardest hit in East Anglia, however, with prices increasing from 101.49p to 105.37p.