May sees price of petrol and diesel increase for third month in a row

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May sees price of petrol and diesel increase for third month in a row

Tank of petrol now £4.77 more expensive than at the end of February

Price of oil rises by 14% adding another $6 to a barrel in May


The average prices of petrol and diesel have increased for the third month in a row making filling up an average family car around £5 more expensive than it was at the end of February.

RAC Fuel Watch data for May reveals that the average unleaded pump price rose 2p a litre (1.92p) from 108.67p a litre to 110.59p, adding £1 to the cost of filling up a 55-litre family car in the course of the month (£59.77 to £60.82). This means that since the end of February the cost of a tank of petrol has risen by £4.77 (101.91p – £56.05 v 110.59p – £60.82).

The average diesel forecourt price saw an even greater increase, going up by 2.2p a litre from 108.49p to 110.70p. This made the cost of a full tank of diesel £1.22 more expensive (£59.67 to £60.89), and a whopping £5.14 dearer than at the end of February (101.36p – £55.75 v 110.70p – £60.89).

Average supermarket prices of petrol and diesel increased by 2% – 1.85p a litre for petrol (106.08p to 107.93p) and 1.68p for diesel (105.91p to 107.59p).

Wholesale prices of both fuels have also gone up; petrol by 3.2p a litre and diesel by 4p a litre, predominantly as a result of the oil price continuing to rise. The spot – or physical – price of oil, so important in the wholesale fuel price, rose 14% in May, adding $6 to a barrel ($43.18 on 3 May to $49.26 on 31 May), and a barrel also reached its highest price since mid-October 2015 when it finished trading at $49.53 on Thursday 26 May.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: "Motorists will be disappointed to see pump prices going up again having enjoyed filling up their vehicles with petrol and diesel for under £1 a litre at the start of the year. The sub-£1 litre is now sadly starting to seem like a distant memory.

“Since the end of February the price of both unleaded and diesel have increased by around 9p a litre which has driven the cost of filling up by around £5. Now summer’s here what most families want is a period of stability so that making the most of the better weather doesn’t lose some of its shine through higher costs at the pump.

“Much depends on the physical price of oil not rising any further. The oil price teetered around the $50 a barrel mark for the last few days of May having risen due to the extra demand from the start of the US summer driving season, but it has yet to go higher. Fortunately, some of the refinery issues which had led to lower than expected output have been resolved and we now have increased crude production in the Middle East.

"And, with the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries deciding not to curtail production at its six-monthly meeting in Vienna on Thursday, there is good reason to expect the oil price will not go far above the current level for the time being, but predicting what will happen with oil is far from straightforward.”

UK fuel price variation

Across the UK, East Anglia saw the biggest increase in petrol prices with a 2.18p a litre rise, while the South East experienced the greatest diesel price hike at 2.31p. The North West underwent the smallest increases in both petrol and diesel, while Northern Ireland remains the cheapest place to buy fuel in the UK with petrol at 109.64p and diesel at 109p. The South East meanwhile has the most expensive fuel with unleaded at an average of 110.97p and diesel at 111.37p.

03/05/2016 31/05/2016 Change
Petrol - ppl


UK average 108.67 110.59 1.92
East Anglia 108.40 110.58 2.18
Northern Ireland 107.47 109.64 2.17
Wales 108.11 110.28 2.17
South East 108.96 110.97 2.01
North 108.54 110.52 1.98
East Midlands 108.59 110.55 1.96
Yorkshire And Humber 108.23 110.16 1.93
West Midlands 108.89 110.75 1.86
South West 108.80 110.64 1.84
Scotland 108.40 110.24 1.84
North West 108.73 110.31 1.58
Diesel - ppl
UK average 108.49 110.70 2.21
South East 109.06 111.37 2.31
South West 108.53 110.83 2.30
East Midlands 108.42 110.68 2.26
East Anglia 108.61 110.86 2.25
West Midlands 108.50 110.73 2.23
Scotland 108.42 110.64 2.22
Wales 108.08 110.26 2.18
Yorkshire And Humber 107.98 110.14 2.16
Northern Ireland 106.90 109.00 2.10
North 108.25 110.28 2.03
North West 108.43 110.41 1.98

Motorists can keep abreast of the latest fuel prices by visiting: rac.co.uk/fuelwatch or following #racfuelwatch on Twitter.

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Notes to Editors

* The core data for the May RAC Fuel Watch report is based on an analysis of Experian Catalist average prices from 3 May to 31 May 2016.

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For the very latest news on UK fuel prices, check RAC Fuel Watch or follow #racfuelwatch on Twitter. This is a comprehensive guide to the latest UK unleaded petrol and diesel prices – both at the wholesale level and at the pump. RAC Fuel Watch analyses how prices changed through the previous month and compares the most recent prices with those from three, six and 12 months before.

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