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Fastest rise in petrol prices for 16 months

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Drivers saw petrol and diesel prices rise at their fastest rate in 16-months this April, notching up 3p a litre, according to the RAC.

The average price of a litre of unleaded went up 2.74p from 120.46p to £123.20. For diesel, the price rise was 2.94p a litre, from 123.08p to 126.0p.

According to RAC Fuel Watch data, prices haven’t risen this fast since December 2016. Further, the last time the average price of unleaded was as expensive at it is now was in mid-November 2014. Diesel last exceeded 126p a litre on 1 December 2014.

Regionally, Northern Ireland experienced the biggest increase in petrol prices with a 3.47p rise from being the cheapest in the UK at 119.47p a litre to 122.94p.

The West Midlands saw the smallest increase at 2.38p to 122.68p. The South East is still the most expensive place to buy petrol with a litre costing 124.05p at the end of April.

Comparing diesel prices, motorists in Scotland saw costs rise 3.16p to 126.06p. Again, the most expensive diesel can be found in the South East where a litre now costs 126.79p.

Motorway fuel prices were largely unchanged in April with a litre of petrol costing 138.43p (a rise of just 0.34p) and diesel 141.11p – a slightly larger rise of 1.13p. This means both fuels are more than 15p a litre more expensive than the average UK prices.

‘Outlook for fuel prices isn’t good at the moment’

Simon Williams of the RAC, said a 12% surge in the price of oil from $67 a barrel to $75 has cost motorists dear in April.

“A 3p a litre rise at the pumps is fortunately fairly unusual, but it’s definitely bad news as it means drivers are now paying 8p more a litre than they did last summer.

“The cost of filling up an average family-sized 55-litre car with petrol is now nearly £68 (£67.76) which is £4.50 more expensive than it was last July. For diesel car drivers it’s even worse with a tank costing over £69 (£69.31), which is £5.50 more.

“The dramatic rise in the oil price and its knock-on effect on the cost of fuel is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the four big supermarkets, which sell the largest volumes and therefore buy fuel in more quickly than other retailers, have raised their prices even more steeply. A litre of supermarket petrol went up 3.2p to 120.17p, and diesel by 3.3p to 123p, signifying they are quickly passing on increased wholesale costs to motorists.”

Williams added that the outlook for fuel prices “isn’t good at the moment” as the oil price is well over $70 a barrel, and if the US does try to re-impose sanctions on Iran and supply drops, motorists will end up paying far more at the pumps.

“Our current two-week prediction is for prices to go up by a penny or so, but this could quickly get worse if oil gets more expensive and the pound weakens any further,” he added.