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Image: Getty

Press release -

Double pain at the pumps as price of petrol moves closer to record high

Amidst the fuel delivery crisis the average price of a litre of both petrol and diesel rose in September to make a tank around £12 more expensive than a year ago, according to new RAC Fuel Watch data.*

Unrelated to the current troubles at the pumps, unleaded went up 1.5p to 136.83p while diesel rose by 2.5p to 139.25p. This makes petrol 22p a litre more expensive than a year ago (114.61p 30 September 2020) and diesel 21p dearer (118.10p).

Unfortunately for drivers, both average prices are moving ever closer to the record highs of April 2012. Both fuels are now at prices last seen eight years ago in autumn 2013, with petrol only being 5.65p off the all-time high of 142.48p and diesel 8.68p off the record of 147.93p.

For those fortunate enough to have been able to fill up a 55-litre family car with petrol at the end of September they would have paid £75.26 – up 85p in September and £12.22 on 12 months ago. A full tank of diesel is now £76.59 – up £1.40 in September and £11.63 more than a year ago.

The rise at the pumps has been driven not by the delivery crisis but by a 10.65% increase in the price of oil from $71.29 to $78.88 throughout September.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said:

“Not only are motorists struggling to put fuel in their vehicles, they are having to pay through the nose for it as the rising cost of a barrel of oil is causing further pain at the pumps.

“As life moves ever closer to normal as the world gets to grips with Covid-19, demand for oil is outpacing supply, and with producer group OPEC+ deciding on Monday not to release more oil, the barrel price has now broken through the $80-mark for the first time in more than three years. This looks likely to spell further misery for drivers at the pumps as we head towards Christmas, especially as some analysts are predicting the price could even hit $90 before the end of the year. If this were to happen, we could see the average price of unleaded hit a new record of around 143p per litre. Diesel would shoot up to 145p which is only 3p off the record high of 147.93 in April 2021.

“Drivers have had to endure the average price of petrol going up for 10 out of the last 12 months and now, because of the supply crisis, many have had great difficulty getting hold of it just so they can go about their daily lives. While we’ve heard of some smaller retailers taking advantage of the situation by charging very high prices for their fuel, these cases appear to be few and far between, with the majority of retailers acting responsibly.

“Since many of Britain’s pumps ran dry over the last weekend of September our patrols have dealt with a surge in out-of-fuel breakdowns. At its worst they attended 13 times as many as they would do typically in a single day, but fortunately this has now subsided to just twice as many.

“As forecourts’ fuel stocks return to normal drivers will inevitably switch from worrying about whether they can get the petrol or diesel they need to just how much a fill-up is costing them.

“Drivers in London and South East will undoubtedly feel particularly hard done by as they are still experiencing problems with getting hold of fuel while also paying the highest prices in the UK.”

Prices at the four major supermarkets were 4p a litre cheaper than the UK average while at motorway services they were 15p more expensive for petrol at 151.55p and 156.35p for diesel. Asda sold the cheapest unleaded at 132p while Sainsbury’s offered the lowest price diesel at 134.28p.

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* UK national average pump prices quoted are based on Experian Catalist data from 1-30 September 2021. Wholesale prices, oil price and the value of sterling are based on data from 1-30 September 2021.


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