As we move into the summer holidays, when families start to go away for summer, what were the prices like for last month, and what does that tell us about August? July is the start of the busy summer period heading into August when more than ever families need to fill up as they drive across the country for holidays. With that in mind, what is the forecast for next month and the rest of the summer?

The price of Brent Crude

One of the largest factors in how much it costs us to fill up at the pump is the price of Brent Crude, the oil our petrol and diesel is made from. July has seen some dramatic changes in the oil price with it starting the month at $77 a barrel then rising to a high of $79 a barrel on July 10th.

The price then saw a dramatic dip on the 16th going down as low as $72 a barrel. The rest of the month saw a steady increase, and it finished at $73 a barrel late Tuesday 31st July.

These consistently high prices have affected the price of filling up last month, as shown by the high prices below.

Highest and lowest diesel prices

For diesel drivers, the worst place to live for the cost of fuel in July was Woolacombe in Devon which saw the highest average price of the month, followed by the Isle of Benbecula and Acharacle in Scotland.

Price Town County
£1.499 Woolacombe Devon
£1.469 Isle Of Benbecula Eilean Siar
£1.455 Acharacle Highland
£1.449 Tighnabruaich Argyll & Bute
£1.437 Markfield Leicestershire
£1.427 Isle Of Unst Shetland Islands
£1.415 Willington Derbyshire
£1.413 Kyle Of Lochalsh Highland
£1.411 Lymm Warrington
£1.402 Isle Of Arran North Ayrshire

Other areas of Scotland were a lot better in terms of diesel prices with two locations in Midlothian topping the list of the lowest average prices around the country.

Price Town County
£1.245 Loanhead Midlothian
£1.248 Penicuik Midlothian
£1.251 Willenhall West Midlands
£1.257 Dukinfield Greater Manchester
£1.259 Clevedon North Somerset
£1.259 Broadstairs Kent
£1.260 Calne Wiltshire
£1.260 Spennymoor County Durham
£1.261 Haslingden Lancashire
£1.264 Heckmondwike West Yorkshire

Highest and lowest petrol prices

In terms of locations, petrol drivers around the country saw a similar pattern to diesel drivers with the most expensive spot for buying petrol being in Devon.

Price Town County
£1.499 Woolacombe Devon
£1.459 Tighnabruaich Argyll & Bute
£1.439 Isle Of Benbecula Eilean Siar
£1.434 Acharacle Highland
£1.406 Lymm Warrington
£1.401 Gretna Dumfries & Galloway
£1.401 Isle Of Unst Shetland Islands
£1.399 Freshwater Isle Of Wight
£1.394 Kyle Of Lochalsh Highland
£1.389 Cowes Isle Of Wight

Leigh in Greater Manchester was the cheapest place to fill up on petrol in July around the UK, followed by Loanhead in Midlothian.

Price Town County
£1.185 Leigh Greater Manchester
£1.194 Loanhead Midlothian
£1.197 Dukinfield Greater Manchester
£1.201 Heckmondwike West Yorkshire
£1.206 Leyland Lancashire
£1.209 Penicuik Midlothian
£1.213 Spennymoor County Durham
£1.216 Pudsey West Yorkshire
£1.218 Willenhall West Midlands
£1.221 Currie Edinburgh

Why are prices so high?

With people filling up for summer holidays or day trips, the big question many are asking is why prices are so high? While it is tempting to blame it on greedy fuel station owners trying to make money from us, the reality is more complicated and has little to do with them. They are probably losing more money at the moment as they try and remain competitive with other stations.

The rising cost of Brent Crude is one reason why prices are increasing. Also, because oil is sold in dollars, the weak pound to dollar exchange rate is also hitting everyone hard. The wholesale price of oil went as high as $80 a barrel twice in May, a three and a half year high – although not as bad as the peak price of $100 barrel seen in 2014. The price is still way above the low point of $40 a barrel seen in 2016, and even the $63 a barrel we saw in February/March this year.

There are lots of factors that influence how much oil costs. Tensions in the Middle East are a big factor behind the rising prices – as things get worse in the major oil-producing region, prices increase. Events like US President Donald Trump withdrawing from the deal with Iran in May affected the price, along with the airstrikes on Syria. Ongoing worries about a war between Israel and Iran also push up prices as Iran’s oil exports would be dramatically affected.

Other factors that affect price are largely unchanged at the moment. These include VAT which is charged at 20% on all transactions and the fuel duty charged by the government, currently 57.95p per litre. Although government ministers are planning to increase fuel duty by 8p a litre to help bring in more money for the NHS which will increase the cost of filling even more than it currently is.

Looking ahead to August

However, what about the rest of the summer? What might we expect regarding the price at the pump for August and beyond? Experts are saying that the cost of petrol is liable to stay much the same into next month while the cost of diesel is likely to come down slightly. However rising tensions between Iran and the US could have an impact on the wholesale price and affect those predictions.

The high prices are likely to affect most families that travel across the UK and into Europe for holidays, so there are a few things that you can do to help reduce the costs of filling up.

As always download the PetrolPrices app for when you’re on the go and need to fill up. You can search five times a day on the app when logged in, which is plenty enough to keep you going!
Try to fill up in busier areas as the price competition is higher, meaning that the prices are likely to be lower than elsewhere.

If you’re going on holiday to somewhere like Devon or the Isle of Wight, where filling up costs a lot more, considering driving a short distance out as the petrol or diesel will most likely be a lot cheaper.

What’s the price like in your areas? How much are you paying for petrol or diesel? Are the high prices affecting you? Let us know in the comments below.

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