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Petrol and diesel prices rocket to near record high

Petrol and diesel prices have hit near record levels and could reach an all-time high in the coming weeks on the back of surging oil prices.

FairFuleUK has proposed to government the implementation of a PumpWatch voluntary code, whereby the price at the pump better reflects the wholesale price of oil

Average prices for both petrol and diesel are now at levels last seen eight years ago, in autumn 2013, and are closing in on the record highs of April 2012

Unrelated to the current delivery shortages, unleaded went up 1.5p to 136.83p in September while diesel rose by 2.5p to 139.25p. This makes petrol 22p a litre more expensive than a year ago (114.61p 30 September 2020) and diesel 21p dearer (118.10p).

In fact, average prices for both fuels are now at levels last seen eight years ago, in autumn 2013, and are closing in on the record highs of April 2012 – petrol is only 5.65p off the all-time high of 142.48p and diesel 8.68p off the record of 147.93p.

RAC has stressed that the rise at the pumps has not been driven by the delivery crisis, but by a rise in the price of oil. While some smaller retailers took advantage of the situation by hiking up prices for their fuel, these were “few and far between”.

Instead, the overriding factor in the surging pump price has been a 10.65% increase in the price of oil from $71.29 to $78.88 throughout September.

Fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “As life moves ever closer to normal as the world gets to grips with Covid-19, demand for oil is outpacing supply, and with producer group OPEC+ deciding on Monday not to release more oil, the barrel price has now broken through the $80-mark for the first time in more than three years.”

This is likely to spell further misery for drivers at the pumps as we head towards Christmas, especially with some analysts predicting the oil price could even hit $90 before the end of the year.

“If this were to happen, we could see the average price of unleaded hit a new record of around 143p per litre. Diesel would shoot up to 145p, which is only 3p off the record high of 147.93 in April 2021,” Williams added.

It means that as forecourt fuel stocks return to normal, drivers will inevitably switch from worrying about whether they can get fuel, to concerns over how much a fill-up is costing them.

“Drivers in London and South East will undoubtedly feel particularly hard done by as they are still experiencing problems with getting hold of fuel while also paying the highest prices in the UK,” continued Williams.

The UK’s ‘big 4’ supermarkets remain the cheapest price to buy fuel – prices in September were 4p a litre cheaper than the UK average. Asda sold the cheapest unleaded at 132p while Sainsbury’s offered the lowest-price diesel at 134.28p.

In contrast, motorway services were 15p more expensive for petrol at 151.55p and charged an average 156.35p for diesel last month.

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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. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

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