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Diesel pump prices at lowest for 20 months

The organisation’s data shows that diesel prices averaged 136.59p a litre in mid March compared to 137.02p last month – with wholesale price reductions pointing to a further 1p to 2p-a-litre fall shortly. A year ago diesel averaged 145.24p a litre.

Across the UK, Yorkshire and Humberside remains the cheapest area for petrol averaging 129.1p a litre. Northern Ireland may still be most expensive, but at least its average has caught up with the rest of the country and fallen below 130p a litre.

At 136.3p a litre, London shares its position as cheapest area for diesel with the West Midlands, while Scotland is most expensive at 137.3p.

Meanwhile petrol forecourt prices remain at a three-year low, averaging 129.46p a litre in mid-March compared to 129.63p last month. A year ago petrol averaged 138.42p a litre.

The prices are revealed as the Government’s freeze on fuel duty continues into a fourth year – while 11 of 28 EU countries have or are due to increase theirs this year, including France, Holland, Italy and Sweden.

However, the encouraging outlook at the fuel pump has been tempered by an ONS report at the end of February stating that inflation has turned an average 2%-a-year increase in earnings into an overall 8% decrease between 2009 and 2013. By April 2013, weekly earnings for full-time employees in the UK “were similar to the level seen in 2002” when adjusted for inflation.

Edmund King, AA president, said: ‘Appalling weather up until 10 days ago will have reduced car use and fuel consumption. However, official figures on inflation-hit earnings reveal a more persistent dark cloud hanging over the ability of UK drivers to use their cars. This is clearly making business difficult for fuel retailers too.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.