We don’t like being the bearers of bad news here at PetrolPrices.com, but it now seems all but certain that we’ll see significant rises in the cost of petrol and diesel between now and Christmas. According to our figures, average prices have already begun to edge up.

As we discussed last week, the OPEC nations agreed back on 30th November to cap oil production. This was a successful attempt to drive up demand and, in turn, the price of oil.

To compound this, on Monday a number of other non-OPEC oil producing nations agreed to join in the production “freeze.” These countries include Mexico and Oman. Together they have reduced the supply of oil by over half a million barrels per day.

All of this had the desired effect; After the other countries joined the freeze, the price of a barrel of crude oil hit its highest level in 17 months.

What can we expect from Christmas fuel prices?

Such a significant increase in the oil price will undoubtedly lift the costs of UK petrol and diesel, which have already suffered in recent months due to the weakness of Sterling. The question is how much will it climb by Christmas?

An increase of around three to five pence in the per-litre cost seems most likely to us, and this is in line with predictions being made by other parties. This sadly means averages of around the 120 pence per litre mark and an increase of a couple of Pounds on each fill-up – not what anyone really needs in the run-up to the festive season.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

For those wondering how long this will all last, there is a possibility that oil-producing nations are making hay while the sun shines. A lot could change following Donald Trump’s forthcoming presidential inauguration on January 20th 2017.

Trump is hardly known for his environmental credentials and is very much in favour of fossil fuels. A US fracking free-for-all could push the price of oil down, and force OPEC and other nations to give up their freezes in order to compete. As such, the silver lining in this particular cloud is that there’s at least a chance it may prove short-lived.

How to find the cheapest fuel

If you’re looking to find the cheapest fuel close to you or along a journey, you’ve come to the right place. Our free service and apps will help you locate the best value fuel wherever you are in the UK. We also always display averages on our website so you can get a sense of what price you should be expecting to pay.

In addition, it’s well worth keeping track of supermarket offers and loyalty card deals in the run up to Christmas. Supermarkets are often the cheapest place to find fuel as deals attract customers to the retail stores. We’d be very surprised not to see such enticements in the coming days and weeks.

Finally, don’t allow yourself to be a captive audience. Too much hurry to begin a long Christmas journey can leave you with no control over where you stop for fuel. A quick check on our service and a five-minute drive to a local supermarket or independent garage before you set off could save you a significant sum, with nearly 20 pence per litre separating the cheapest and most expensive per-litre prices of unleaded at the time of writing.

What do you think will happen to fuel prices in the coming year? Share your thoughts below.

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