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Press release -

Petrol prices rise for third straight month adding £2 to a fill-up

The price of petrol shot up by 3.5p to 120p a litre in January – a price last seen the day before the first Covid-19 lockdown on 22 March 2020 and the third consecutive monthly increase, data from RAC Fuel Watch reveals.*

Diesel also went up by more than 3p a litre from 120.05p to 123.43p (3.38p), making for the second rise in as many months. Both fuels, however, are still around 7p a litre cheaper than they were a year ago.

At these prices a full 55-litre tank of unleaded will set drivers back £66 which is nearly £2 (£1.92) more than at the start of January. The diesel equivalent is £67.89 – up £1.86. Compared to the May 2020 low of 105.81p for petrol, a complete fill-up is now around £8 more expensive and diesel nearly £7 (111.23p a litre on 21 May 2020).

The hike appears to have been led by the supermarkets which are extremely influential in retail fuel pricing, currently selling 60% of all fuel sold in the UK.** Asda added more than 5p a litre to petrol taking the average price across all its sites to 115.13p. While this was the biggest rise its unleaded is still the cheapest available at a supermarket, although Sainsbury’s is not far behind at 115.87p a litre. Asda also has the lowest priced diesel at 118.16p, with Sainsbury’s at 118.81p.

As a result of all four of the big supermarkets raising their fuel prices by around 4p a litre, it’s now only 3-3.5p cheaper to buy at their sites compared to the UK average. However, this is a penny less than it was in December when it was 4-4.5p cheaper to buy at a supermarket.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said:

“Petrol car drivers have sadly seen three months of rising pump prices taking us back to a level last seen at the start of the first lockdown late last March and adding a couple of pounds to the cost of filling up.

“The increase stems from $5 being added to price of a barrel of oil although this has been cushioned by the pound strengthening a little against the dollar. One thing’s for sure prices are nowhere near the lows we saw in late May when petrol was just under 106p a litre and was diesel 111p.

“These latest fuel prices unfortunately show the power of oil production cuts in getting the barrel price back up from the floor at $13.21, when the impact of international travel restrictions first hit last April, to the $55 mark now.

“Eyes will now be on the Chancellor who will face a difficult decision at his Budget next month as to whether to pile further misery on drivers by raising fuel duty at a time when pump prices are on this rise and many household incomes are being squeezed as a result of the pandemic.”

Regional pump prices compared (all pence per litre)

Unleaded

03/01/2021

31/01/2021

Change

UK average

116.51

120.00

3.49

East

117.25

120.66

3.41

East Midlands

116.32

119.79

3.47

London

117.65

121.14

3.49

North East

115.22

118.84

3.62

North West

116.23

119.10

2.87

Northern Ireland

112.22

115.89

3.67

Scotland

115.44

119.48

4.04

South East

117.63

121.23

3.60

South West

116.82

119.99

3.17

Wales

114.95

118.93

3.98

West Midlands

115.98

119.69

3.71

Yorkshire And The Humber

115.81

119.15

3.34

Diesel

03/01/2021

31/01/2021

Change

UK average

120.05

123.43

3.38

East

120.90

124.44

3.54

East Midlands

120.19

123.51

3.32

London

120.42

124.16

3.74

North East

119.01

122.44

3.43

North West

119.51

122.94

3.43

Northern Ireland

115.50

118.25

2.75

Scotland

119.48

123.08

3.60

South East

121.42

124.79

3.37

South West

120.28

123.59

3.31

Wales

119.59

122.80

3.21

West Midlands

120.06

123.26

3.20

Yorkshire And The Humber

119.44

122.78

3.34

Find out more about UK petrol and diesel prices on the RAC website.

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Notes to Editors

* UK national average pump prices quoted are based on Experian Catalist data from 3 to 31 January 2021. Wholesale prices, oil price and the value of sterling are based on data from 4 to 29 January 2021.

** https://ukpia.com/media/2466/ukpia-2020-statistical-review-a4.pdf


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