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Fuel prices rise for third month in a row

Date: 03 September 2020   |   Author: Sean Keywood

The average prices of petrol and diesel in the UK rose for the third consecutive month during August, according to data from the RAC.

It shows that the average cost of a litre of petrol was up by half a penny to 114.88p, while diesel was up by a third of a penny to 118.47p.

However, these averages are still 13p cheaper than they were at the end of January, before the major disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and the RAC does not expect a rapid return to pre-pandemic levels.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "Even though pump prices have risen for three consecutive months, August's increase was slight sparing drivers any nasty shocks when they went to fill up. 

"We had feared prices might rise more quickly as people started driving more after the lockdown but so far petrol has only gone up 9p a litre from its low of just under 106p in May which, it's important to remember, is still 13p a litre less than it was in January.

"It was good news for drivers that August didn't see the price of fuel jump, especially as so many people were 'staycationing'. It was also positive that motorway fill-ups remained more reasonably priced than they have been in the past, with service station retailers apparently not taking as much margin as they have in the past."

Williams said that the short-term outlook for fuel prices was not too bad, despite a blip in oil prices at the end of August.

He said: "The cost of a barrel of oil rose dramatically due to fears of a hurricane affecting supplies in the Gulf of Mexico, but fortunately there was no adverse impact to production as the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical depression and refineries were spared massive flooding.

"Our pump price forecast for the next fortnight shows petrol should come down by a penny while diesel ought to fall by around 5p a litre if retailers play fair and reflect the downward movement in the wholesale price properly."