February fuel price update

Petrol price rises by nearly 5%

20 February 2009

petrol prices have risen by nearly 5% this month

The price of petrol in the UK has risen by more than one and a half times the current rate of inflation between mid January and mid February, the latest AA Fuel Price Report has found.

Up 4.28 pence a litre, petrol now averages 90.88 pence per litre compared to 86.6 a month ago. This has added £2.14 to the cost of a 50-litre tank refill.

Diesel drivers have seen the average price of their fuel rise two pence, putting the cost of a litre back above a £1 at 100.79 pence. However, for the first time since last April, the lower pace of rise has reduced the petrol-diesel price differential to nearly 10 pence and improved the benefit diesel drivers get from using a more fuel efficient fuel, compared to petrol.

Despite oil prices averaging around $45 a barrel, compared to $68 the last time petrol prices were at 90 pence a litre, a rise in the wholesale price of petrol accounts for much of the rise. However, supermarkets that were competing hard on price in the run-up to Christmas have allowed their petrol prices to rise on average 4.98 pence a litre while non-supermarket prices rose 4.2.

Although supermarket petrol prices remain on average 1.8 pence a litre below the UK average, compared to 2.3 pence last month, non-supermarket retailers have undercut them in many built-up areas. Shell fuel stations in particular have stepped into low-price territory normally occupied by supermarkets.

AA comment

"As they did early last year, supermarkets have allowed their prices to rise faster than other retailers, while some oil company fuel stations have taken the competitive lead," says Paul Watters, head of AA Public Affairs.

"Drivers, who see recession, a collapsed oil price and falling inflation, are irritated by pump prices that continue to go up at a rate they associate with the soaring prices last year. European motoring clubs have run out of patience and written to the EU competition commissioner calling for an inquiry. Greater transparency in fuel pricing is long overdue."

Across the regions, London and the South East are no longer the most expensive areas to buy petrol as rural areas Wales, Northern Ireland and East Anglia resume their more traditional position. Likewise, the biggest falls in the price of diesel have happened in London and the South East, leaving Northern Ireland and Wales the highest-priced regions.

View the full AA Fuel Price Report.

Petrol


Comparison by brand (16 February 2009)


Brand This month
(pence/litre)
Last month
(pence/litre)
Price change
(pence/litre)
Asda 88.55 83.12 +5.43
BP 91.42 87.78 +3.64
Esso 90.66 86.78 +3.88
Jet 89.56 85.50 +4.06
Morrisons 88.78 84.61 +4.17
Murco 92.25 87.43 +4.82
Sainsbury 88.79 83.44 +5.35
Shell 93.14 88.74 +4.40
Tesco 89.76 84.78 +4.98
Texaco 92.42 88.08 +4.34
Total 90.76 86.53 +4.23
UK average 90.88 86.65 +4.23


Diesel


Comparison by brand (16 February 2009)


Brand This month
(pence/litre)
Last month
(pence/litre)
Price change
(pence/litre)
Asda 98.72 95.37 +3.35
BP 101.34 99.47 +1.87
Esso 100.27 98.45 +1.82
Jet 99.97 97.41 +2.56
Morrisons 99.56 96.70 +2.86
Murco 100.00 99.27 +0.73
Sainsbury 99.65 95.35 +4.30
Shell 103.42 101.13 +2.29
Tesco 100.39 97.46 +2.93
Texaco 101.11 99.65 +1.46
Total 100.97 98.48 +2.49
UK average 100.79 98.73 +2.06


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20 February 2009
(Price data provided by Experian Catalist)