Fuel prices up for fifth month running
Petrol and diesel prices rose for the fifth month running at UK forecourts in March, while the outlook for April is mixed.
Pump prices rose another 2.7p for petrol and 2.4p for diesel last month, and both fuels now cost the same as they did in February 2020, according to new data from RAC Fuel Watch.
It means the average price of a litre of petrol now stands at 126.28p and diesel at 129.07p, with drivers respectively having to pay 12.2p and 11.4p more for every litre than they did at the start of November, a rise of about 10% in just five months.
While the supermarkets remain cheaper for fuel, prices have also risen there. A litre of unleaded currently costs 121.9p on average – up 2.61p – while diesel is at 124.86p, following a rise of 2.59p.
The rise in fuel prices is on the back of the recovery in recent months of the price of oil; which stood at $63.67 at the end of March after hitting a historic low of just $13.21 last April.
But the ongoing impact of the pandemic on demand – particularly with global travel well down on normal – is, for now, helping to prevent the oil price from going much higher.
And the RAC said that drivers should even be in line for a pump price cut in the coming weeks if retailers fairly reflect wholesale prices on their forecourts.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Diesel is looking particularly overpriced at the moment, with the wholesale price of the fuel currently less than the petrol equivalent. Unfortunately, this rarely translates into lower prices as retailers tend to use the saving to subsidise the price of petrol.
“The coming weeks and months are critical when it comes to working out where prices might be heading during the rest of 2021. For as long as global Covid travel restrictions remain, it’s hard to see oil prices rocketing – and that should protect wholesale, and in turn, pump prices from rising too quickly. However, what the major oil producing nations decide to do in terms of oil output is also important. Any further reductions in supply could start to push the barrel price up above the $70 mark again – spelling yet more pump price rises here in the UK.”