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Pump prices climb to three-year high

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Drivers have begun the New Year paying the highest price for petrol since the end of 2014, RAC Fuel Watch data reveals.

The average price of unleaded increased for the second month in a row, rising 0.45p a litre to 121.11p while diesel climbed from 123.06p to 123.46p.

As such, the RAC said a litre of petrol is now at its highest point since December 2014.

Pump prices have steadily increased since July when petrol was at its cheapest point of the year, (114.33p a litre), revealing it’s risen by 8.4p since. A tank of unleaded for an average 55-litre family car now costs £66.71 which is £3.73 more than in July 2017.

Turning to diesel, the RAC said filling up the family car costs £67.90 now, up £4.64 since the summer.

In early 2016, both petrol and diesel averaged 102p a litre, though the RAC noted that today’s prices are still much cheaper than April 2012 when the average price reached a record high of 142p a litre for petrol and 148p a litre for diesel.

Supermarket forecourts tend to offer better prices for motorists but the data reveals the big four also cranked up prices by half a penny a litre in December, with petrol rising from 117.26p to 117.84p. For diesel, it rose from 119.69p to 120.34p.

Regional data revealed the North East saw the biggest increase in the price of unleaded with a litre rising from 120.06p to 120.92p. Northern Ireland finished 2017 with the cheapest petrol at 120.27p and the South East with the most expensive at 121.87p.

London suffered the greatest rise in the price of diesel as a result of a litre going up 0.94p to 124.15p. This was still cheaper than the average price in the South East of 124.29p – the highest in the UK. Northern Ireland once again had the cheapest diesel at the start and end of the month with the cost of a litre hardly increasing.

The reason behind the rises is down to the price of oil which is now at its highest since May 2015, coming in at $66.61.

Simon Williams of the RAC, said: “On a brighter note, the shutdown of the North Sea Forties pipeline did not cause the price of oil to increase as many expected. It had been feared this would lead to petrol and diesel going up in the run-up to Christmas, but luckily for drivers global oil production was not negatively affected as a result.

“It’s hard to see pump prices getting much cheaper in the early part of 2018. Unfortunately, the good times of lower cost fuel appear to be over and it’s probably now far more likely we will see them going up as OPEC’s oil production cuts are starting to have the desired effect of reducing the global oil glut and pushing the barrel price higher.”

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