September Fuel Price Report

Oil prices not reflected at the pumps/political pressure growing

17 September 2008

a petrol station fuel filler nozzle

Average UK petrol prices have barely fallen in a month despite oil prices crashing through the $100-a-barrel mark, the latest AA Fuel Price Report reveals. Meanwhile political pressure on fuel suppliers and retailers grows in UK regions and the EU.

Petrol prices across the UK fell by just one quarter of a penny over the past month, from 113.15 pence per litre in mid-August to 112.88 in mid-September. The average price of diesel dropped 1.32 pence per litre, from 125.58 to 124.26, closing the price gap between petrol and diesel to 11.38 pence.

The AA anticipates a drop of four pence per litre for petrol and six pence for diesel in coming weeks. In April, when the impact of oil breaking through $100 a barrel filtered through to UK pumps, petrol cost 108.5 pence per litre and diesel 118. Although current falls in the cost of oil will be tempered by a weaker pound, gasoline wholesale prices in the US have fallen heavily due to reduced demand.

Across half the UK, including Scotland, the North, Wales and the South West, the average price of petrol has gone down by a mere tenth of a penny. However, wide variations between regional prices remain: petrol in London, the most expensive area, costs nearly two pence a litre more than in Yorkshire, Humberside and the North West.

Variations in price between neighbouring towns has triggered political pressure on retailers, with Northern Ireland's finance minister today calling on supermarkets to price fuel more fairly across the region. Across Europe, motoring clubs are banding together to approach the EU for an investigation into fuel price movements.

AA comment

"Hurricane Ike's failure to damage oil infrastructure in the US and falling demand for petrol has sent oil crashing through the $100 mark. With US wholesale petrol prices also falling, the AA expects UK pump prices to fall sooner rather than later – and significantly," says Edmund King, the AA's president.

"The country has already had a taste of falling wholesale prices not being passed on quickly enough to beleaguered UK consumers this summer. We hope that it is not just one supermarket playing it straight with car-owning customers this time."

He adds: "The reaction in Northern Ireland to neighbouring towns charging 2p or more for petrol mirrors the protest by the Inverness MP in July to petrol being more expensive than down the road in Elgin. On the Continent, our colleagues in other motoring organisations are losing patience with fuel suppliers and retailers. From the AA's perspective, we see two solutions: either a transparent track of wholesale prices matched against pump prices, or the creation of a government fuel price regulator to monitor the market."

View the full AA Fuel Price Report.


Comparison by brand (15 September 2008)

Brand This month
Last month
Price change
Asda 109.74 109.66 +0.08
BP 113.34 113.85 -0.51
Esso 112.74 112.92 -0.18
Jet 111.91 113.01 -1.1
Morrisons 110.73 110.02 -0.71
Murco 113.49 114.92 -1.43
Sainsbury 111.29 110.73 -0.56
Shell 114.55 115.23 -0.68
Tesco 112.11 111.42 +0.69
Texaco 113.87 114.07 -0.2
Total 112.96 113.62 -0.66
UK average 112.88 113.15 -0.27


Comparison by brand (15 September 2008)

Brand This month
Last month
Price change
Asda 121.25 121.46 -0.21
BP 124.69 127.42 -2.73
Esso 123.78 124.53 -0.75
Jet 123.10 125.08 -1.98
Morrisons 122.24 121.39 +0.85
Murco 124.24 127.14 -2.9
Sainsbury 122.80 122.37 -0.43
Shell 126.69 128.26 -1.57
Tesco 123.64 122.95 +0.69
Texaco 124.86 126.37 -1.51
Total 124.24 125.45 -1.21
UK average 124.26 125.58 -1.32

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17 September 2008
(Price data provided by Experian Catalist)