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July sees return to rising pump prices

Written by: Emma Lunn
The price of both petrol and diesel went up last month and experts warn that more price rises could be on the way.

Pump prices fell in June but rose in July as the pound lost 3 per cent on the dollar. However, they were still cheaper than they were at the start of June, according to RAC Fuel Watch.

The average price for a litre of unleaded petrol stood at 129.21p in July (up 1.55p from June), while a litre of diesel typically cost 131.95p (up by 0.93p from June).

This means a tank of petrol now typically sets drivers back £71.07 compared to £70.21 at the end of June. For diesel the difference is just 51p with a full tank increasing to £72.57.

At the four big supermarkets the fuel price rise was steeper with 1.88p being added to petrol, taking their average price to 125.95p. Diesel went up 1.64p, making a litre cost 128.62p.

Wholesale fuel prices

Wholesale prices rose as a result of oil enduring a mid-month boost, hitting a high of $67.41 on 10 July but falling away to $63.97 by the close.

The other oil price-defining factor – the strength of sterling – took a dip following the change of Prime Minister, with the pound dropping 3 per cent from $1.26 at the start of July to $1.22 by the close.

In fact, the pound reached its lowest level against the dollar ($1.2152 on 30 July) since March 2017 ($1.2151 on 9 March 2017). Motorists will undoubtedly feel the pinch at the pumps if the pound remains this weak and oil were to rise to around $70 a barrel.

Simon Williams, RAC fuel spokesman, said: “Sadly, July saw a return to rising pump prices making the respite of June all too brief. While there were only relatively small rises in both petrol and diesel, the situation might have been far worse if the drop in the value of the pound had combined with the higher mid-month oil prices. And, of course this could still very easily prove to be the case if the pound doesn’t recover in the next few weeks.

“Drivers can only hope we don’t see the nasty combination of a rising oil price and a falling pound. If we do, August could prove to be a very costly month on the UK’s roads. This could easily lead to petrol going above the 2019 high of 130.67p seen at the start of June and diesel exceeding the year’s high point of 135.54p at the end of May.”

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