Petrol Price Update

Easter average falls just short of record

6 April 2010

UK petrol prices fall just short of record over Easter

Near-record petrol prices force families to cut back to 'credit crunch' levels

Average UK petrol prices over Easter fell just short of the record, reaching 119.46p a litre, the AA reports. However, some parts of the South are already above the 119.7p a litre record of July 2008.

An ongoing AA/Populus survey of the impact of high fuel prices on drivers shows that two-thirds of families are cutting back on other expenditure and car use – more than during the 'credit crunch' uncertainty of November 2008*.

A litre of petrol is now 9.6p more expensive than at the start of the year (109.88). This is adding £4.80 the cost of a typical 50-litre refill and £20.38 more to the monthly fuel costs of a family with two petrol cars.

In March, before the April 1 fuel duty increase, 67% of 17,480 AA members surveyed said they were cutting back on car use, other expenditure or both. This compares with 61% last November and 66% in November 2008.

Although skilled manual and service workers continue to be hit hardest, 8% up on November 2009, even drivers from professional and higher managerial backgrounds are now feeling the pinch, 6% up on November 2009.

Nearly half (48%) of AA members questioned said they are cutting back on car use, up from 45% in November, and those siphoning money from other family spending to compensate for higher petrol prices has risen from 34% to 38% during the past five months.


"Soaring pump prices have fuelled inflation in recent months and UK petrol sales were down almost 10% in the last quarter of 2009. Over the weekend, some retailers who put prices up 2p a litre, in line with the increase in duty and other costs, brought them back down. Such is the knife-edge between what drivers can and cannot afford to spend on fuel," says Edmund King, the AA's president.

"That same knife-edge is what will produce some sharp exchanges for parliamentary candidates on the election trail. The AA/Populus surveys have in the past shown the Government taking half the blame for rising fuel prices. However, the AA voter will be looking to see how other parties respond to the burden of petrol prices soaring to a new record."

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*The AA seeks the opinion of around 100,000 drivers every month and regularly asks them how they have reacted to higher fuel prices. The survey looks at the percentage of drivers that have compensated for higher fuel prices by either a) cutting back on other expenditure, or b) cutting back on car use, or c) both


6 April 2010