Review of UK fuel prices in October

By Lisa Edwards
News entry dated 03rd Nov 2017

For the world of fuel prices, October was very much the calm after the storm and prices remained much the same or even fell very slightly in some parts of the country. The average price of unleaded stood at 118.1p per litre compared to 119.3p in September while the overall cost of diesel was 120.3p versus 120p in September.

Current price trends

Looking at the current price trends from October, Asda remains the cheapest place to get fuel on average around the country. Their unleaded price was 113.9 versus 114.5 at Morrisons and 114.6 at Sainsbury’s, Tesco was in fourth place with a price of 114.9. The pattern on diesel prices is also similar with Asda offering 116.2 for their customers followed by Morrisons at 116.8, Sainsbury’s at 117.1 and Tesco at 117.7.

When compared with other retailers around the UK, it shows that drivers are still best going to the supermarket for their fuel. The cheapest average price for unleaded at other retailers, apart from supermarkets, was 117.7 at Jet garages followed by 118.9 at Texaco and 119.1 at Esso. Highest of the big fuel retailers was BP at 120.3p per litre. Diesel displayed a similar picture – Jet at an average price of 119.9 followed by Texaco at 121 and Esso at 121.1. BP was again the most expensive at 122.3 on average.

Looking back

Current prices for unleaded are higher than in 2016 and 2015 in the same months but go back a little further to the 5-year mark and prices are still considerably lower – the figure for unleaded in October 2012 was 138.5p per litre. Go back even further and the comparison to prices 10 years ago highlights why running a car can still be expensive – the average cost was just 97.8 in October 2007.

Diesel prices compared to historical figures are a little less severe but still show an interesting pattern. Last month’s price compared to a price of 110.4p two years ago but favourably to the price in 2012 at 143.5p. Like petrol, the price 10 years ago was a much healthier 100.1p per litre.

Increases ahead?

While the rise was modest in October, experts are already predicting that prices are set to rise in November. One of the key reasons for this is the agreement between Russia and nine other OPEC producers to limit production to 1.8 million barrels a day. The agreement was put in place in January 2016 with the aim of clearing a supply glut. While it is due to expire in March 2018, many experts believe it will be renewed for a second time.

The result was that Brent Oil closed at its highest levels since July 2015 when the market closed on Monday with prices in the US finishing at $60.90 a barrel, an increase of 46 cents. This means that Brent has increased by 9.5% in the last 16 trading days.

Wholesale and pump

While this rise in the price of wholesale may increase prices at the pump, the two don’t always directly correspond. For example, there was a spike at the end of August that saw wholesale petrol rise to 95.73p but the price at the pump only moderately increased – because the spike was a short-lived one. Within a week or so, the price was back to 92.04p, around the same figure as before.

Prices for both diesel and petrol did fluctuate during October in terms of the wholesale price but the price at the pump remained largely consistent. This shows that while the price of wholesale can change rapidly for short periods, it doesn’t always mean we end up paying more at the pump.

Conclusion

While prices in October were generally quite steady, there is worry that the trend could see increases during November. And with the busy Christmas season around the corner, the advice remains to watch out for those deals and special offers to try and get the best price for your fuel, wherever you live in the UK.

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