May Fuel Price Update

Petrol prices stop rising after two and a half months

19 May 2010

UK petrol prices have stabilised for the first time since late February

Average UK petrol prices, which set a new all-time record of 121.61p a litre last week, have stabilised for the first time since late February. This is despite a sustained 2p-a-litre fall in the wholesale price over the past 10 days – but not at the pumps, according to the AA's May Fuel Price Report.

The UK price of petrol dipped to 121.54p a litre on Monday, 1p higher than mid April. However, it now emerges that record petrol costs would have been worse had supermarket Asda not held its prices at around 117.9p a litre. This has left some of its rivals up to 2.76p a litre more expensive on their average price across the country.

The average UK price of diesel has risen 1.38p a litre, from 121.56p a litre last month to 122.94p now.

On Monday, the 2p-a-litre drop in wholesale prices was sustained as NW European prices fell another 3%, from around $750 a tonne to below $730 – the weakened pound preventing the saving for UK drivers being a full 3p a litre. A fortnight ago wholesale stood at $800.

Comment

"The failure so far to pass on wholesale petrol price cuts is leaving hard-pressed drivers feeling short-changed at the pumps. Fuel is an unavoidable and essential purchase for drivers and many would prefer to see pump prices come down instead of having to go to the next town for cheaper prices or having to qualify for savings, such as spending £50 in store first," says Edmund King, the AA's president.

"Last week, a coordinator for volunteer drivers phoned the AA to say that high fuel prices were threatening an exodus. She had recently been contacted by her local ambulance trust asking to borrow volunteer drivers for hospital runs because many of theirs had given up. That is why the AA asks fuel retailers to pass on savings if they can."

Regionally, Yorkshire and Humberside remains the cheapest area for petrol and diesel in the UK with Northern Ireland and the South East the most expensive for petrol. Northern Ireland drivers are also paying most for diesel.

Factfile

View the full AA Fuel Price Report »

UK pump price data provided by Experian Catalist

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19 May 2010