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Petrol prices drop, except for unlucky diesel drivers

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There was more bad news for diesel drivers in October as prices rose again, while unleaded costs dropped.

The latest RAC Fuel Watch report showed the average unleaded petrol price fell 0.67p to 118.17p per litre, while the average diesel price rose 0.59p to 120.8p.

However, this benign environment may not last, following chunky hikes in the price of crude oil, which rose over 9% to $60.98.

RAC fuel spokesman, Simon Williams, said: “At the start of October there was a 6p saving in the wholesale price of unleaded which retailers eventually passed on to motorists in pump price reductions. This month, however, the situation is reversed and the petrol wholesale price has gone up by 4p.

“Inevitably, this increase will be passed on to motorists on the forecourt far more quickly than the cuts were made last month, but that is unfortunately the nature of ‘big’ fuel retailing: pass on wholesale rises quickly and cling on to savings for as long as possible.

“Motorists may yet be spared from large pump prices if the United States takes advantage of the higher oil price to bring more fracking rigs online as this will bring more product on to the market, no doubt easing the barrel price.”

Petrol prices are also affected by the US dollar/sterling exchange rate. However, even though sterling remained comparatively strong against the dollar averaging $1.32 in October, it is unlikely to be enough to prevent some pump price rises due to the rising cost of oil.

Williams added that motorists will also be looking at the Chancellor, who delivers his Budget later this month. With higher wholesale costs filtering down to the forecourts, an increase in fuel duty would be a further blow.

There were regional variations to shifting prices. Wales saw the largest drop in the price of unleaded in October with a litre coming down 1p to 117.62p. Northern Ireland saw the smallest increase, at the same time keeping its title as the cheapest place to buy petrol with a litre costing only 117.41p on average. The South East was once again the most expensive at 118.65p a litre at the end of October.

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