August Fuel Price Report

Average UK petrol car driver short-changed £1 a tank

15 August 2008

a petrol station fuel filler nozzle

Average petrol prices in the UK have fallen 6.5 pence in a month. However, filling up a tank is costing normally £1 more than it should, the AA argues in its latest mid-monthly Fuel Price Report.

Average petrol prices have fallen from 119.51 pence per litre in mid-July to 113.15 now, cutting £13.63 off the typical two-car family's monthly spend on petrol. The average price of diesel has in the past month fallen from 131.56 pence per litre to 125.58, a saving of six pence a litre.

Since July 11, when the wholesale price for petrol coming into the UK peaked, this had by the end of last week fallen 18 per cent. This equates to an 8.5 pence-per-litre reduction in the pump price of petrol, from the all-time high of 119.7 pence per litre on July 17. This should bring the UK forecourt average down to 111.2 pence per litre1.

Local price-matching by supermarkets, other than Asda with its national pricing strategy, often creates a two-pence price difference between neighbouring towns.

  • In Reading, a town with an Asda filling station, supermarkets in the area yesterday charged 109.9 pence per litre.
  • In Windsor, Wokingham, Maidenhead, Bracknell, Basingstoke, Newbury and Andover (all towns without an Asda filling station), cheapest prices were at least 111.9 pence per litre.

AA comment

"Whichever way you look at it, many drivers are being short-changed by around £1 a tank when they fill up with petrol in the UK. As well as undermining family budgets, selfishly holding back two pence a litre in wholesale price reductions is denying potential consumer spending at other local businesses suffering from falling sales," says Paul Watters, head of AA Public Affairs.

"The AA welcomes the significant drops in price over the past month and accepts that small retailers, particularly in rural areas, are likely to charge more for fuel to cover overheads. However, larger petrol suppliers still have some way to go to pass on wholesale savings."

London continues to sell the most expensive petrol in the UK, with Northern Ireland close behind. Although Scotland has experienced the biggest fall in the price of petrol, the cheapest regions are the North West and Yorkshire and Humberside. Northern Ireland, the most expensive region for diesel, has seen its average price fall by the smallest margin in the UK.

View the full AA Fuel Price Report.


1The wholesale price of petrol coming into the UK dropped from its all-time high of 1211 $/tonne on July 11 to 992.5 last week, a fall of 18%.

Taking the 17 July record high price and stripping out 17.83p in VAT, 50.35 pence per litre fuel duty, and a very generous 11p margin for transport, profit and marketing, leaves more than 40 pence product cost for petrol.

An 18% reduction equals 7.2 pence, which with VAT re-added should reduce pump prices by 8.5 pence per litre. The average UK price of petrol should therefore be around 111 pence per litre.


Comparison by brand (13 August 2008)

Brand This month
Last month
Price change
Asda 109.66 117.14 -7.48
BP 113.85 120.14 -6.29
Esso 112.92 119.20 -6.28
Jet 113.01 118.81 -5.80
Morrisons 110.02 118.04 -8.02
Murco 114.92 119.53 -4.61
Sainsbury 110.73 118.55 -7.52
Shell 115.23 120.49 -5.26
Tesco 111.42 118.94 -7.52
Texaco 114.07 119.97 -5.90
Total 113.62 119.73 -6.11
UK average 113.15 119.51 -6.36


Comparison by brand (13 August 2008)

Brand This month
Last month
Price change
Asda 121.46 130.47 -9.01
BP 127.42 133.71 -6.29
Esso 124.53 132.59 -8.06
Jet 125.08 132.08 -7.00
Morrisons 121.39 131.39 -10.00
Murco 127.14 132.97 -5.83
Sainsbury 122.37 131.73 -9.36
Shell 128.26 135.54 -7.28
Tesco 122.95 132.23 -9.28
Texaco 126.37 133.40 -7.03
Total 125.45 133.08 -7.63
UK average 125.58 133.08 -7.50

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15 August 2008
(Price data provided by Experian Catalist)