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Fuel prices up for third month running but short-term outlook ‘not ominous’

By / 8 months ago / Latest News / No Comments

Average fuel prices in the UK rose for the third consecutive month in August, but the increase was slight and prices aren’t expected to rocket back to pre-pandemic levels.

Petrol should come down by a penny in the next fortnight while diesel ought to fall by around 5p a litre “if retailers play fair”

Although fuel prices had been expected to rise quickly as drivers returned to the roads, a litre of unleaded rose by just half a penny in August to 114.88p while diesel was up by a third of a penny to 118.47p. This means both fuels are still 13p cheaper than they were at the end of January, when petrol stood at 128p a litre and diesel was 132p.

Supermarket fuel prices were up very slightly; petrol rose by a third of penny to 109.55p and diesel by over half a penny (0.63p) to 114.17p. As a result, supermarket unleaded was 5.33p cheaper than the UK average, and diesel 4.3p cheaper per litre.

But motorway fuel stayed the same in August, with a litre of unleaded setting drivers back 124.03p and diesel 129.33p. And the difference between filling up at a motorway services is currently only 10p more expensive than the UK average (9.15p – petrol; 10.86p – diesel); considerably lower than January when the gap stood at around 20p a litre.

Moto’s experiment with lower fuel prices could have long-term gains too. The motorway service station operator, which is the largest in the UK, announced in July that it was had cut fuel prices at three sites o just above supermarket averages, with a view to introducing lower prices across its 47-strong network. The RAC said the trial won’t have gone unnoticed by its competitors so there’s a chance that service station prices may be lower than they would otherwise have been.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams added that the short-term outlook for pump prices generally does not appear ominous for UK drivers despite a blip in the oil price at the end of August.

“The cost of a barrel of oil rose dramatically due to fears of a hurricane affecting supplies in the Gulf of Mexico, but fortunately there was no adverse impact to production as the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical depression and refineries were spared massive flooding,” he explained.

“Our pump price forecast for the next fortnight shows petrol should come down by a penny while diesel ought to fall by around 5p a litre if retailers play fair and reflect the downward movement in the wholesale price properly.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006.