Back in March 2020, during the first national lockdown, petrol prices reached lows of just 106.48p per litre. A decline in demand, oversupply and up to 80% less traffic on the roads was the cause, with motorists told to stay home and reduce travel to short, essential journeys only.
Now, ten months on, our situation remains mostly unchanged. A third national lockdown has meant restrictions are still in place and motorists have once again had their journeys capped. One thing that has changed during this lockdown, however, is the price of petrol.
Reaching heights of 120.1p-a-litre in some areas of England, petrol prices are now above what they were even before the pandemic began and are still increasing. In fact, as of this week, the cost of petrol is 5p more expensive than it was a month ago.
This is Money found that on average, motorists are currently paying £3 more than previous lockdown prices to fill up the average family-sized car with a 55-litre tank.
While journeys and traffic levels may be reduced, motorists are still having to make multiple short, essential journeys weekly and may still be travelling to and from essential jobs, meaning that they will most definitely be feeling the sting of these hiked-up prices.
AA spokesman, Luke Bosdet, acknowledged the situation motorists in lockdown are facing: ‘Many drivers in lockdown are using their cars for short trips, such as to the supermarket, and are filling up much less often than usual.’
‘If this week they have gone to the fuel station for the first time since December, they will have seen a 4p to 5p-a-litre leap in petrol and diesel prices.
‘This will be a nasty surprise and compound their lockdown frustrations.’
Currently, petrol prices in London and the South East are topping the scales at 120.32p and 120.76p-a-litre respectively, while diesel prices I similar areas are reaching highs of up to 123.71p.
Research also shows that not only are petrol prices on the rise in areas all across England, but they may also differ between forecourts. In some areas prices differed by up to 10p at a range of forecourts in the same place. This has meant that motorists are being forced to do their research before filling up in order to avoid paying more than they need to for their fuel.
But what is it that has caused this increase? And is the upward trend set to continue?
[Image Source: Shutterstock, Feb 2021]
What is causing the peak in prices?
One factor that could be to blame for the significant rise in petrol prices during this third lockdown is the cost of oil. The AA pointed out that, over the last month, the price of oil has risen by $5 to $6-a-barrell, clearly having a direct impact on the prices set for petrol.
It has also been suggested that supermarkets have played a part in the rise in pandemic petrol prices, with some organisations accusing them of taking advantage of the lockdown.
The AA suggests that a $2 increase in the price of oil is usually matched by a 1p-a-litre rise in the price of petrol. If this is the case, some retailers appear to be adding a small amount more to their prices. The AA has dubbed this a ‘lockdown bonus’ for fuel sellers.
With supermarkets making the most of this ‘lockdown bonus’, non-supermarket retailers have also been forced to up their prices to keep up with the competition, meaning that motorists are paying extra for their petrol, no matter where they get it from.
The Petrol Retailers Association chairman, Brian Madderson, explains that: ‘Petrol stations are rightly regarded as ‘essential’ businesses by the government yet the independent sector struggles for financial sustainability as fuel volumes plummet again during this latest lockdown.’
He suggested that non-supermarket retailers have struggled during this time, and have been forced to make every effort to keep their services running: ‘Unlike the big supermarkets buoyed by massive increases to grocery sales, independents have to hold onto every penny of margin to avoid cutting staff and reducing service levels in a tight market.’
As the pandemic continues, it is uncertain as to whether the upward trend in petrol prices will continue, but in the meantime, it is motorists already struggling with the economic hardships of a global pandemic who will suffer the consequences.
Do you think the rise in petrol prices during this stage of the pandemic is justified? Were you surprised at the price of petrol last time you filled up?
Tell us in the comments.
Supermarket in Andover has massively increased there petrol and diesel but two smaller forecourts just outside Andover have kept there’s much lower and those forecourts are so busy everyday.
Supermarkets ripping the customers off
All supermarkets are the same aren’t they,rip-off merchants – every one of ’em.
with the pound to euro / dollar rate the strongest it has been for months this smacks of profiteering.
This is true. We have to buy every gallon of oil in dollars. Therefore in effect, when the pound strengthens against the dollar, oil prices to the UK fall. The pond slumped prior to the brexit vote, and UK fuel prices climbed accordingly. So whom is now doing the profiteering ? I would hazard a guess at the super markets?
it’s disgusting that petrol prices have gone up so much!!!
as a pensioner it makes a great difference to my finances, luckily I am not using as much diesel as usual as only going out once a week to supermarket.
I also think it’s disgusting that the price of fuel has risen so much. People are struggling in these dreadful times and all we get are price hikes. We pay so much for fuel in this country. And there doesn’t seem to be any intervention from anyone. I’ve been working during these lockdowns and last year fuel was much cheaper. Now its just ramped up and is costing a fortune just to commute to work.
It’s all just take take take….
It’s a disgrace!!!
The one body that could control fuel prices – TheGovenment – take their share in duties and taxes don’t they!!!!
There is one overriding factor as to why forecourt prices are increasing, and that is because they can. The motorist is reliant on buying fuel, that means that basically, the petrol retailers can charge whatever they like. Back in 2010, the price of crude was riding at about $130 per barrel. Similarly, the price of diesel peaked at about £1.30 per litre. In the ten years that have followed, a Tory Government has frozen the rate of fuel duty and VAT, and even though crude has been steadily on the increase throughout 2021, it is still less than HALF the price it was 10 years ago. The petrol retailers have us over a barrel (excuse the pun), and they ripping off the motorist in grand style.
Where I live in Southport, the price of fuel is varying by up to 12p. a litre, and on average is around 3 to 4p dearer than in neighbouring towns. Also, gone are the days when fuel rose by penny at a time, now it’s commonplace to see increases of 3p.
Shocking, I can remember 5 gallons & change from a £1 note.
oil prices may have gone up, but so has the pound which should make the oil cheaper
Ahhhh ! Yea !! But……….
Greedy supermarkets Tesco being the worst.
I agree Tesco being the worst. 123.9 for diesel compared to Morrisons 115.9 not far away.
I am not at all surprised by the price hike. What does anyone expect, without any encouragement from government NOT to profiteer, then the Supermarkets, in particular, will make hay whilst they think the sun is shining and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Whilst the British Media have not apparently picked up on it and embarrassed them into climbing down, they will continue unabated!
It wouldn’t make any difference if the government made any encouragement not to profiteer, as big businesses take absolutely no notice of anything not enforced by legislation and even then attempt to circumnavigate in persuance of profit
Price of a barrel of oil up $5 = immediate hike in pump prices.
There is at least 3 months supply in the pipeline.
Yeah right – its blatant profiteering
Sadly this is the real world where economies rule and to cap it all not only is petrol and derv going up but so is Electricity so I am going to be hit on both sides of the coin so to sepeak as I exchanged my car to an Hybrid, also now being a pensione it makes it all the more difficult to budget for these underhand increases in fuel and enegery. .
I bet TESCO Shareholders are loving all this.
Funny how everyone is moaning at the supermarkets, my local Asda is £1,17 for diesel and the norm around London is £1,23-1,25, l actually saw £131 yesterday in the West End,
Surely you should complain about the price of a bar of chocolate or coke in the fuel stations than the extra £2,50 to fill a tank up
Diesel in the BP garage in Livingston. £1.25.9
Oil has jumped from $20 last March to close to $60 today. The £ has improved only marginally against the $. Most forecourts are not ‘ripping us off’. And no, I am not connected to trade in way.
At $60 per barrel, oil is as cheap as chips. The pound has improved considerably against the Dollar, no increase in duty or VAT, so wrong, the Petrol Retailers are having our trousers off.
How does this match with the surplus of oil referred to on the BBC Shetland news of 3 days ago? I quote: “Concern over Shetland ‘parking lot’ for floating oil storage””
Concern has been expressed about the potential risk posed by tankers using Shetland’s coastline as a “parking lot” for floating oil storage.
The Hovden Spirit – carrying hundreds of thousands of barrels of Brent crude – is the latest vessel to hug the coast while awaiting a destination.
The tankers are not breaking any national or international rules.
However, Shetland’s former marine operations director said they should not be spending weeks so close to land.
Captain George Sutherland described it as a “parking lot for floating storage” for tankers waiting for the oil market to change.
Braer: The huge oil spill that Shetland survived
“With low oil prices, tankers are coming to anchor laden with cargo,” he said.
So why are not these low prices being reflected at our pumps?
At my petrol station, the price has increased 2/3 pence over the last two weeks which I think is awful. There should be intervention by the Government to stop this continuing to rise!
On the 27th Dec I filled up at Lewisham tesco with momentum 99 at 116.99 a litre. On the 3rd Feb the price had gone up to 123.99 a litre!!! That’s 7p a litre more in a 5 week period! If that is not daylight robbery then I don’t know what is! Needless to say I am disgusted!!
No cheaper at night either, so just plain profiteering
Continous price rises are a clever way to force motorists to buy an electric vehicle in my opinion .
That’s quite a cynical way of thinking but you can be sure they’re going to hold back for as long as possible on EV taxation until a healthy percentage have made the switch, its still less than 2% of all vehicles, but around 50% of new sales, long way to go.
Don’t use the car for as long as possible; if every one did that then the price of fuel will drop…..compare the situation with coffee increases so many years ago!
We just take it on the chin don’t we ? A few years ago ( 2000 ) the hauliers went on strike when the price reached 82p/litre.
It’s especially tough now for essential workers who have to drive to work. The rest of us are stuck at home anyway…
P.S. in the 70s I ran a service station on the A3 . Then 5 star petrol cost 35 p….a gallon !)
Typical supermarket pricing forcing prices up. They serve cheap petrol at sky high prices.
Surely you don’t mean it lower grade?
Like the difference between ‘premium’ baked beans & cheaper brands is just more water & less beans & tomato sauce.
I think the increase in the price of fuel is nothing less than profiteering and is absolutely disgusting. It is especially disgusting when supermarkets, who buy in bulk, charge extremely different prices for their fuel in different locations. It’s about time the government took action and put a cap on petrol and diesel prices to stop this extra burden on motorists and the profiteering.
Price of iol up by $5 in a month, fuel up 5p/ltr instantly! There is at least 3mths reserve fo fuel. A drop of $5 a bbarrel will NOT see a corresponding instant drop in fuel prices. Excise duty has not changed, but VAT is an added %
Fuel producers. sellers etc gripping us by the short & curleys
it is 6p dearer here in Christchurch Dorset 123.9 than Watford where I used to fill up when working. It is rip off price of diesel and petrol. Goes up very quick when barrel of oil goes up and comes down like a snail when price goes down.
This is taking advantage of the motorist unnecessarily. This is the Major Supermarkets ripping of their customers. Pity Aldi andLidl do not sell fuel,it would shake up the major supermarket chains.Customers should com first,if they want to keep them.
The whole fuel industry are a bunch of crooks !! Licenced Dick Turpins
our local Morrisons diesel went upto £1.23 per litre
Asda has increased petrol 7p a gallon since Christmas…as a pensioner this is a big increase to my budget….plus in-store prices are o.t.t. compared to other s/markets….
Petrol and Diesel Pump rises are because the Opec cartel are again keeping prices high when there is plenty of fuel around- it should be cheap with stored supplies!
What is appalling is such high prices are being consumed by the people who are Still going to work – The Nurses, Doctors, Surgeons, Carers, etc. Is isn’t right they should have to consume these high prices when they are supporting NHS care in this Pandemic. The Oil Giants need to be held to account for this.
A plea to all supermarket petrol forecourts. Don’t get greedy. Keep prices low or even lower them to help people get back on their back on their feet. Supermarkets our one of the companies to actually make massive profits off this pandemic so don’t need to make more profits. I predict if greed takes over we are looking at a global recession.
Does seem strange that filling stations within a short distance of each other charge considerably different prices.
Reinforces the need for sites like this to show accurate information so that buyers get the best price.