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UK fuel prices reach highest level since before pandemic

Date: 03 June 2021   |   Author: Sean Keywood

The average cost of both petrol and diesel on UK forecourts has now hit the highest level seen since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the RAC.

It said the average price of a litre of petrol went up for the seventh month in a row in May, by 2.24p, to 129.27p - the highest level seen since August 2019.

As for diesel, the average price of a litre rose by 1.95p to 131.59p, a level not seen since January 2020, after an increase of 14.4p over the last six months.

Year-on-year, the increase in petrol prices is the biggest seen since 2010, with the pandemic having caused prices to fall with reduced demand during 2020.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "After seven consecutive months of rising prices drivers will be wondering if the increases are ever going to end.

"As always, the future of fuel prices is hard to predict more than a few weeks in advance and even more so now as the pandemic appears to have altered the dynamics of fuel retailing, with the supermarkets having an even greater stranglehold on the market.

"Looking at the wholesale price of both fuels, in normal circumstances unleaded definitely shouldn't be continuing to rise with the numbers actually pointing to the potential for a 2p reduction. And diesel is currently 4p too expensive which suggests retailers are using the saving in the wholesale price to help make up for lower fuel sales over the last year.

"We urge retailers not to take advantage of drivers and fairly reflect what's happening with wholesale prices on the country's forecourts.

"Drivers' fuel price fate depends on what happens with global oil production and demand. Oil producers had curbed supply due to lower demand but have been releasing more product as the travel recovery continues."