February brings respite from ongoing fuel price rises
Petrol and diesel prices fell 2p a litre in February following three consecutive months of fuel price increases.
Latest data from the RAC shows the average price of unleaded dropped to 120.14p from 122.34p and diesel to 122.86p from 125.08p following two major cuts from Britain’s ‘big four’ supermarkets made within days of each other. These were due to the falling price of both fuels on the wholesale market, which was itself triggered by a fall in the oil price. The cost of a barrel of Brent crude ended February 4% lower than at the start at $65.66 having dropped to a near three-month low of $61.46 in the middle of the month (13 February).
The fall in the oil price was caused by both an unexpected increase in fuel stocks in the United States and the reopening of the major Forties oil pipeline in the North Sea which had been closed for unplanned maintenance – with it open again, nearly half a billion extra barrels of oil a day are made available to the market.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “The question for drivers now, of course, is what happens to prices next. While the pound has weakened a little against the dollar – which is important as fuel is traded in dollars – the oil price remains around $65. This has created some downward pressure on wholesale petrol and diesel prices. Whether this means there is scope for another forecourt price cut in the next few weeks remains to be seen and is something we will monitor extremely closely.”