April fuel price update

Growing driver dismay as petrol prices hit 95p

17 April 2009

UK drivers are watching with a growing sense of anger and disbelief as the cost of petrol pushes through 95p a litre, rising faster than increases during last spring's fuel price surge. Including April 1's 2.12p increase in fuel duty and VAT, average UK petrol prices have risen 4.45 pence in a month, according to the latest AA Fuel Price Report.

Between mid-March and mid-April, with the price of oil rising around $5 a barrel, the average price of petrol has gone up from 90.56 pence per litre to 95.01. During the same period last year, when oil rose $10 a barrel, the price of petrol rose 1.3 pence, from 106.8 to 108.1 pence per litre.

The 4.45 pence leap in petrol prices has increased the cost of a tank of petrol by £2.23, lifting the monthly fuel spend for a family with two petrol cars by £9.65. Petrol prices were last at 95p a litre on 13 November 2008.

Diesel drivers have benefited from a glut in European markets that has seen pump prices rise from 99.77 pence per litre in mid-March to 102.69 now, most of the 2.92 pence increase due to the Chancellor's extra tax-take. Even so, with reports that refinery cut-backs are barely denting the surplus supply, drivers are asking why the non-tax cost of the fuel is going up at all.

Figures released on Wednesday by the Office of National Statistics show that the average household is spending £61.80 a week on motoring, with the costs of both tax and insurance and petrol and oil now more than 200% higher than a decade ago.

The petrol price difference among the four main supermarkets has closed to within a penny for the first time in many months leaving little clear advantage between them. Compared to non-supermarket fuel stations, supermarkets are now on average 1.7p a litre cheaper compared to 1.4 last month although some independent retailers continue to undercut them.

Petrol in Northern Ireland stands out as nearly a penny a litre more expensive than the next dearest UK region. Petrol in London and the eastern side of England is bucking previous trends with average prices cheaper than most other parts of the UK, even in rural East Anglia. However, diesel in London costs a penny a litre more than Northern Ireland and the North West, the cheapest areas

Drivers are becoming more vocal about rising prices. Emails and exchanges on the AA zone forum forum from recession-hit AA motorists are beginning to echo the complaints from last year.

AA comment

"It is not clear whether it is the stock markets or the oil industry trying to pump up the value of oil. However, with laden tankers moored off-shore as temporary storage indicating major stock surpluses, there is growing concern that the fundamentals of supply and demand are not being reflected in prices, "says Edmund King, AA president.

"For UK drivers, despite being in a recession, rising fuel costs are again making it hard to make ends meet for UK families. This means they will cut back on other spending in leisure and the high street, undermining economic recovery. Increases in fuel duty by the Government are also contributing. Let us hope there is some good news for motorists in the form of a scrappage grant for older cars in next week's budget."

View the full AA Fuel Price Report.

Join the discussion in the AA zone

 

15 July 2009
(Price data provided by Experian Catalist)