November fuel price update

Diesel hits £5 a gallon as fuel prices surge to new high

20 November 2009

Diesel hits £5 a gallon as fuel prices surge to new high

Diesel has returned to an average of £5 a gallon for the first in just over 12 months as UK fuel prices hit a new high for the year, November's AA Fuel Price Report reveals.

Diesel prices in the UK have risen on average 3.78p a litre, from 106.24p in mid October to 110.02p in mid November – the highest monthly rise this year. Average petrol pump prices went up 3.67p a litre, from 105.07 to 108.74.

The increases have added £3.26 to the monthly fuel costs of a diesel car and £3.98 for a petrol car. More worryingly, transportation and delivery companies have begun to add or increase fuel surcharges on orders. One refrigerated transport company now adds one per cent to its invoices for every 2p rise in the price of diesel.


"Consumers are being hit when they fill up at the pump and when the higher cost of transporting goods is passed on in the shop. This once again puts a tighter squeeze on family budgets and undermines high street spending in recession," says Paul Watters, Head of AA Public Affairs.

"Road transport and delivery firms have learnt in the last two years to pass on the extra cost of fuel to their customers. Unfortunately, drivers don't have that luxury and the impact of higher fuel charges is compounded."

Unlike this time last year, when supermarkets were falling over each other to slash pump prices, the average price of supermarket fuel has risen more than four pence a litre for petrol and diesel compared to around 3.75p for fuel prices in general. On average prices, this has allowed retailers like Esso, Shell, Jet and Murco to undercut the more expensive supermarkets.

"Fuel is not the battleground for this year's supermarket festive price war. For drivers looking to drop in and only fill up their tank, going to a supermarket may not be the cheapest option, unless it is an Asda. Keeping an eye on prices between towns has once again become a preoccupation for commuters desperate to cut their fuel bills," Watters adds.

As the AA predicted last year, the growth in non-supermarket petrol stations that have added mini-stores and cut pump price margins to pull in customers is giving supermarkets a run for their money. This month's figures suggest that some supermarkets are giving them the opportunity.

View the full AA Fuel Price Report »

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20 November 2009
(Price data provided by Experian Catalist)