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Lockdown fuel prices slashed and further cuts on cards

Pump prices are expected to fall in the next fortnight as a result of lower oil prices, with Asda already leading the charge on price cuts.

Asda has already cut fuel prices and other retailers are being urged to pass on drops in wholesale prices

Although the RAC said it wasn’t expecting prices to go as low as the last lockdown – March saw petrol drop to under £1 a litre as a result of oil prices falling to a 21st century low – it added that they should fall in the coming weeks if retailers “do the right thing” and pass on drops in wholesale prices.

While petrol pump prices remained pretty static in October – running at a little over 114p on average last month – wholesale unleaded prices dropped 4.62p to just 82.26p through October thanks to falling oil prices. And the RAC said this should herald lower prices at forecourts – just as England enters its second nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

Diesel prices should fall too. It’s already been over-priced for nearly two months now, according to the RAC. Between the middle of August and the middle of October, the wholesale price of diesel was below that of petrol and in October it fell yet again by 4.62p per litre to 83.73p. Yet diesel pump prices remain significantly higher than petrol at 117.82p at the end of last month, down just 0.27p compared to at the start of October.

Supermarket fuel prices also stayed broadly static last month, standing at 109.6p and just under 114p for petrol and diesel. The price of a litre of unleaded is now 131.09p, up 4.26p, with diesel at 135.19p, up 4.05p.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said the falling oil price was the result of ongoing concern about global demand due to the second coronavirus wave. He added that the result of the US election may also have some effect on prices, but could mean prices end up slightly higher or slightly lower, depending on who gets elected.

Already, Asda has cut up to 2p off a litre of petrol (charging no more than 108.7p) and 3p off diesel (charging no more than 111.7p), and the RAC said we now need other retailers to follow suit as quickly as possible.

But Williams cautioned: “It remains to be seen to what extent retailers pass on the wholesale savings they have been enjoying recently to drivers. While the volume of fuel sold in the coming weeks is likely to be lower than of late, we’re concerned some retailers may only choose to only cut by a few pence, or not at all, which would be bad news for drivers, especially as we don’t anticipate the roads will be as quiet as during the first lockdown.

“There is perhaps a cruel irony for motorists here in that the route to cheaper prices is cheaper oil, yet the main reason the oil price is lower is because so many of us across the world aren’t travelling.”

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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.

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