December Fuel Price Report

Fuel price falls to 21- month low

17 December 2008

a petrol station fuel filler nozzle

UK average petrol prices have fallen to their lowest for more than 21 months yet a third of UK families are cutting back even further than when fuel prices were at record highs, according to the latest mid-monthly AA Fuel Price Report.

The price of petrol fell 5.38 pence between mid November and mid December, from 94.86 to 89.48 pence per litre. Diesel costs, helped by a dramatic five pence drop by supermarkets and some non-supermarket retailers, dropped 6.89 pence, from 108.82 to 101.93 pence per litre.

Petrol last cost under 89.5 pence a litre on 14 March 2007 while diesel was last below 102 pence on 4 November 2007. Compared to the record prices in mid-July this year of 119.7 pence per litre for petrol and 133.25 for diesel, filling a typical 50-litre petrol tank costs £15.11 less. A family with two petrol cars is now spending £64.77 less per month than in the summer.

However, ongoing AA Populus research into family spending shows that although the percentage of people cutting back on family spending has fallen from 55 per cent to 34 per cent1, the remaining third have made even deeper cuts.

These reductions in spending include:

  • Eating out – 69% (47% in July)
  • Cinema/theatre/entertainment – 60% (42% in July)
  • Other areas of spending – 50% (41% in July)
  • Weekly shopping – 48% (35% in July)
  • Car servicing – 16% (10% in July)

AA comment

"Petrol prices continue to fall steadily and would be even further had sterling been able to hold more of its value against the dollar. The recent five-pence drop in diesel at supermarkets and other retailers like Shell came as an early Christmas present for diesel drivers who had seen the petrol-diesel price gap widen to 15 pence," says Edmund King, the AA's president.

"However, the AA's poll of 7,380 drivers show that economic and financial uncertainty have taken over as the main restraint on spending in many UK households. This will be reflected in lower Christmas sales. Cutting back on servicing will be a false economy as breakdowns are more expensive and disruptive."

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 (15 December 2008)


Brand This month
(pence/litre)
Last month
(pence/litre)
Price change
(pence/litre)
Asda 87.83 92.79 -4.96
BP 89.85 95.17 -5.32
Esso 89.24 94.90 -5.66
Jet 89.12 94.45 -5.33
Morrisons 87.98 92.85 -4.87
Murco 89.7 95.29 -5.59
Sainsbury 88.22 93.69 -5.47
Shell 91.53 96.95 -5.42
Tesco 88.68 93.89 -5.21
Texaco 89.9 95.53 -5.63
Total 89.84 95.24 -5.40
UK average 89.48 94.86 -5.38


Diesel


Comparison by brand (15 December 2008)


Brand This month
(pence/litre)
Last month
(pence/litre)
Price change
(pence/litre)
Asda 99.83 106.90 -7.07
BP 101.97 108.98 -7.01
Esso 101.14 108.49 -7.35
Jet 101.39 108.17 -6.78
Morrisons 99.66 107.17 -7.51
Murco 102.21 108.62 -6.41
Sainsbury 100.03 107.23 -7.20
Shell 105.43 111.14 -5.71
Tesco 100.66 107.91 -7.25
Texaco 102.74 109.22 -6.48
Total 101.84 108.94 -7.10
UK average 101.93 108.82 -6.89


Factfile

1Results from the AA Populus survey panel of 7,380 drivers interviewed between November 21-28.

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17 December 2008
(Price data provided by Experian Catalist)