It’s the end of summer and as we watch the hours of daylight decrease, we can’t say the same of fuel prices. The AA’s latest figures show that UK petrol prices have hit a four-year high, despite the recent drop in the cost of oil.
The average price of unleaded petrol is now 130.2 pence per litre—the most expensive since August 2014—meaning it now costs almost £72 to fill up the tank of a typical family car. Meanwhile, drivers of diesel vehicles are coughing up around £73 to refuel, with diesel averaging 132.8 pence per litre. Fuel prices rose by just under 13.2p per litre in a year, meaning a tank of petrol is now over £7 more expensive.
Supermarkets still cheapest
The price of oil peaked at more than $80 per barrel in July, having been on the rise since the unease in the Middle East after President Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal. Prices have again fallen, with Brent Crude down to $76.21 per barrel, but UK motorists aren’t yet enjoying any pump price reduction.
Supermarkets are still the cheapest forecourts by far. At the time of writing, our data shows the average price of Asda unleaded petrol is 125.1 pence per litre with Sainsbury’s averaging at 126.6p and Tesco at 127.4p. Compare this to 131.7p at Shell and 132.2p at BP.
Average August city fuel prices—in pence per litre (ppl)
Data taken from PetrolPrices.com database and correct as of 28th August 2018
Average August brand fuel prices—in pence per litre (ppl)
Data taken from PetrolPrices.com database and correct as of 28th August 2018
An increase in petrol and diesel prices over summer may seem acceptable and in line with other goods and services companies trying to boost seasonal sales, but the AA says fuel is a basic necessity used to get people to work, children to school, and for buying groceries.
The organisation argues that consumers aren’t able to respond as they would when other traders increase prices, by switching to seasonal produce or buying a more affordable choice, as they can with food.
Is the oil industry ripping off UK motorists?
The AA, who gathered the data, said many drivers ‘will smell a rip-off’ and warned that millions of pounds are being ‘syphoned off’ by the oil industry. They added that because prices trade in US dollars, the fall in the value of the pound sterling has made fuel more expensive.
Luke Bosdet, AA’s fuel price spokesman, said: “This week, holiday drivers should have been thanking their good fortune that a 3p-a-litre saving from a $6-a-barrel fall in the price of oil is making their vacation cheaper than in June.
“Instead, the cost is worse, because of pumped-up commodity prices and Brexit scares spooking the value of the pound.”
The Office for National Statistics says transport is the largest expense for the average UK household. The AA reports that up to 40% of their members have to budget a set amount to spend on petrol or diesel. This means when petrol prices rise or stay at artificial highs, these motorists must take money from other parts of their budgets just to cover their essential travel costs.
While we hope for a price reduction…
Although motorists have no control over the cost of petrol and diesel, we can all make savings when it comes time to fill up our tanks.
PetrolPrices aim to help you save money and the average PetrolPrices user saves £220.20 each year by signing up for free. With almost 8500 data updates for 98% of the UK fuel market received each day, we’re able to find the cheapest available fuel for our members, wherever they are. If you haven’t already, download the PetrolPrices app.
For more ways to save money on fuel costs, consider the following tips:
Engines are most efficient once warm, so try to combine smaller errands instead of making lots of short trips. Starting a cold engine increases the fuel consumption of your car even though your journey may involve the same number of miles.
Keep up with your car maintenance and servicing. Your tyres and brake pads can affect fuel consumption and overall performance of your car. Inflate your tyres to the correct pressure as stated in your owner’s manual depending on the load you’re carrying.
Make the most of the motorways—they’re the most fuel-efficient roads in the country and the safest roads, too.
On average, every 50 kg increases fuel consumption by 2%, so only keep what’s necessary inside your boot, and only half fill your fuel tank if you’re an urban driver.
Reduce your speed. The Department for Transport says drivers use up to 9% more fuel driving at 70mph than when travelling at 60mph and a staggering 25% more fuel by travelling at 80mph instead of 70mph.
Steep inclines use up a lot of fuel. When there’s a hill ahead, increase your speed somewhat, then reduce it as you drive up the hill. The extra momentum should minimise extra fuel consumption.
Do you think forecourts should lower their fuel prices now the cost of oil has reduced? Do you agree with the AA’s view that petrol and diesel are a basic necessity—or is it a luxury item? How much are you paying for fuel where you are? Let us know in the comments.
Considering 70 – 75% of the cost of fuel is TAX, it is our very own greedy & corrupt government at fault. The only way the prices will drop (properly) is by removing this concept called government.
Easy to say that, but then they will need to increase income tax levels to compensate. Depends what you prefer.
Yes it’s a basic need, especially for those in rural areas. And yes once again UK motrists are being off, both by the oil companies and our own government 😡
Yes fuel is a necessity. I work for supply agencies and I need to get to where ever they send me or I won’t get a wage.
The text of the article says that supermarkets are cheaper. The table says that they aren’t. I presume the table is incorrect?
3 of cheapest 4 are supermarkets.
Unusual for Esso to be cheap – perhaps a Tesco connection (albeit a loose one) but that does not explain the usually cheap Tesco. The areas I know suggest that Tesco is lower.
I live in the Manchester area and Shell is the dearest company around.
It’s not the price of petrol/diesel that bothers me, I’m ok with that ! It’s the horrendous TAX that makes it worse for the motorist. CUT THE TAX !!
I think the tax on fuel should stay BUT remove the The Road Fund Licence and then we’ll pay as use for road wear N tear. Not as at present subsidising the high mileage business users, HGV etc.
Not a good idea. All the food an clothes in the shops would go up in price. Also our greedy government would keep banging the price up every budget til you my friend are off the road! Have you ever been ripped off on a French toll rd? I missed my junction an cost an extra 13 euro to drive to next one, if everyone was to pay road tax like this no one would be on the road but the government still wants it’s tax so what do we tax next? Your food and your house.
I had been wondering why fuel keeps o going up. When crude oil is at nearly the same price it was in February this year. And the Stirling to euro and dollar rate isn’t much different. Yet diesel was 1.169 in Feb and is now 1.289 today? In the Oldham area Tescos are artificially inflating their fuel prices which is affecting the other retailers. So I advise to everyone stop shopping there. The only way to break this is to vote with your feet.
Totally agree, I find our local Supermarkets..such As Tesco and Morrison’s are too quick to put up their fuel prices instead of looking after their customers especially in Port Talbot..area..Whereas just up the road in Neath and Llansamlet..Asda are always low..So good on you Asda keep up the good work..and you motorists don’t put up with it,Shop around don’t be lazy and then moan about it..
I can confirm that Leicester and Bradford diesel prices are as low as 1.23 at asda and morrisons, as I just visited both areas this week
humm! I just paid 123.7 for unleaded in Bradford morrisons, how is diesel the same price. Don’t think so.
We have been buying our fuel from Tesco but find that it is one of the most expensive looking at the above list.
Motorists have always been the cash cows, be it of Government, the oil industry of the petrol retailers.
Yes, we are being ripped off, oil has been over $105 dollars a barrel in the past and we were paying circa £1.40 at that point, a barrel is now $76 a barrel therefore we should be paying 25% less per litre or roughly £1.05. The oil companies are just leeching off of drivers because we have no choice…..and profits/taking your money off of you are what companies/governments/rich elitists are all about.
Agreed we are all being ripped off, its a form of direct taxation, the higher the fuel cost the more tax the Gov gets so they won’t do anything about the price unless they have to or it suits their agenda’s!! And please tell me why Saisbury in Tonbridge is 132.9 for unleaded while 27 miles down the road in Hastings Sainsbury it is 120.9????? 12 pence a litre difference!!!!
Sainsburys in Leeds is 120.9 as well but in Hessle E Yorks it is 125.9, they should be like Asda where all the filling stations are the same price where ever they are
Asda used to have a national pricing policy, but no longer. It is 122.7 where I live, which appears cheaper than most other areas according to other examples given.
Very true – my local ASDA charges 124.7p/L for unleaded (and 129.7 for diesel).
I am surprised at some of the supermarket prices quoted. In Shrewsbury Asda unleaded is 122.7 and Sainsburys 122.9.
If you cannot afford fuel why have a car ? Just to leave on the roads causing delays and congestion I suppose
I’ve gone all electric so the petrol/diesel pump prices don’t effect me. 10,000 miles a year currently cost me about £150. Work out your savings to see if it is cheaper to go electric. Unfortunately the big oil companies are buying into the EV charging companies and bringing their greedy pricing strategy with them.
I’m expecting to read in the London Evening Standard (Remoaners house magazine) edited by the embittered ex chancellor & auther of Project Fear George Osborne, that it’s all because of Brexit. It’s the go to excuse for any drop in profits, failing businesses, rise in prices or shortages. For some reason businesses both home & abroad think ripping off the British consumer is acceptable but not abroad.
Protest, protest, protest! Mass protests outside parliament might kick the corrupt tories in the backside…but we don’t instead we fly large inflatables and throw toys about a president of another country!!! How the government must love all that distraction. Collectively the British need to start refusing to pay for fuel, rail tickets, council tax etc etc and you watch how quickly the government reacts as the economy falters, otherwise nothing will change and those smug self-serving MP’s will continue giving us all two fingers whilst being slipped brown envelopes by oil company execs!
What this article needs is a graph showing the retail price of petrol / diesel against the oil price per barrel over the years. Then we could see how bad the rip-off is.
The data is available if you look for it. I know this because years ago I maintained a database of ARA wholesale prices and local pump prices and calculated how much margin was being taken by the retailer once fuel duty and VAT were added to wholesale prices. What I found was that there was consistent profiteering on diesel (or alternatively, retailers were subsidising petrol with diesel). At that time, there was a significant pump price gap between petrol and diesel (but also a bit of a wholesale price gap, to be fair) and this gap persisted even while the wholesale price of diesel fell, upto a point when (working from my local ASDA’s pump prices – the lowest in the area) the retailer margin on diesel was over 15p/L and the margin on petrol was around 2p/L. The gap did eventually narrow slightly, but diesel continued to subsidise petrol – the wholesale price of diesel even dropped below that of petrol for a considerable length of time, but I only saw the diesel pump price EQUAL to that of petrol for one single day (and never below the price of petrol).
When I presented this data to the Petrol Retailers Association, they trotted out the excuse about forward purchasing leading to a lag between wholesale and pump price movements, but we all know that any wholesale price increase causes rapid pump price response, while it always seems to work much more slowly in the opposite direction.
When I presented the data to the Office of Fair Trading, they responded with something along the lines of ‘we can’t interfere in commercial markets’.
The bottom line is that fuel retailers know perfectly well that the economy runs on diesel and they routinely exploit that dependency by charging higher margins on diesel than petrol – and HMRC is quite happy to reap more VAT on the diesel price, so they won’t intervene.
If I had the resources, I’d consider acquiring my own tanker and pumps and set up a cooperative to offer fairer prices to diesel motorists, but fuel retail is a cutthroat business and big players could easily afford to briefly undercut such a measure and drive it out of existence. It needs somebody with very deep poclets to survive such an assault. Are there any altruistic billionaires out there? No, I didn’t think so….
Just in addition to your comments, it must be being recognized by OPEC that with worldwide trends toward global warming is now being swayed away from petrol/diesel, the gravy train is coming to the end of the road. So let’s make hay whilst the sun is shining, fleece the motorist.
Let’s not forget that petrol is a waste product left over from the refining processes for its main
markets for lubricants, without motorists it would be worthless.
The petrol needs to come down it’s disgusting wages are c**p and low but things are goin up the government need to be ashamed of them self’s sat there get big wages while prices go up people on the streets this country needs to come to a stand still and fight back
Yes we are being ripped off but it won’t stop when electric cars become the norm since most of the traditional oil companies have ‘invested’ in electric charging technology so they can still screw us and maintain their grip
Our own UK government is the main reason pump prices are so high. The oil industry may be ripping us off but that’s nowt compared to our government, they are doing a much better job of stealing our money.
You can thank Mark Carney and his attempts to destroy Sterling. He alone is responsible for this as Oil is Dollar priced and his continual attacks on Sterling stopped the recovery at 1.43 and drove it down to 1.28.
Rather than just post yet another motorist annoying fact why doesn’t the writer né the outfit that they work for start a petition to the Government stating the facts and demanding on behalf of all motorists to do something about it. Why not organise a national march and rally to Parliament/Downing Street to actually show how motorists feel. Nothing has more impact than a big rally to the ‘fat cats’ in any Government.
It’s not just fuel, it’s everything that we need and can’t do without and I don’t think there is anything we can do about it.
one thing bothers me somewhat, i have friends in the oil industry in the refining business near houston texas. they
tell me that diesel fuel actually comes off the refining area earlier than petrol so why is that diesel costs more than
petrol. anyone out there to comment ???
Fuel retailers know very well that the economy runs on diesel fuel and they exploit this by routinely charging higher margins on diesel than on petrol. Also, don’t forget that the USA has very dirty standard diesel compared to European standards – higher sulphur content, for instance. Refining to the European standard makes a relatively large impact to their pump price (because they pay less tax on fuel) – I won’t dispute that higher-quality diesel is also available in the USA, but check out how much extra it costs as a percentage.
Our local Shell garage puts it’s price up almost daily!
Back in the 70’s the truckers went on strike because of fuel prices. Several days later the prices went down BUT they made sure most truckers cannot go on strike. Prices should go down with oil prices and up as well. It’s cheaper to refine diesel than petrol and the prices were lower. Government told everyone to drive diesel vehicles. Now the government are now telling people to drive petrol cars because they are more environmental. Diesel modern cars have had filters on them for the last 10 years. The Government know that the UK drivers will not protest in the masses so until then they have got us by the balls.
Dave truckers went on strike in the 70s for a rise in wages, artic drivers wanted £40 a week and we got it, I was one of them I am now 79 nearing 80
Some of the prices shown above are a bit low but not in Basingstoke /Andover and Tadley where I live as there is 2 forecourts one Esso and a Shell are charging motorway prices and putting their prices up every 24/36 hours .
and Esso have been reported for rigging their pumps.
I am not happy at been ripped off by these greedy oil companies and forecourts subbing staff wages😡
Nothing new. Prices always go up immediately there is a whiff of an increase in oil, but months to come down, and even then only by a few pence. But nothing ever gets done about it. Government too weak and spineless, and petrol companies asking what you going to do to stop us.
Nothing new. The prices always go up immediately there is even a whiff of an increase in oil, and months before it comes back down, and even then only by a few pence. More to the point, who is going to stop them? The government is weak and spineless but happy to take the extra tax, and motoring associations have no power. All we can do is watch and grumble.
It’s always the same greed and government waste of our taxes also a total lack of backbone in our eu negotiations making the uk 🇬🇧 look week tell the eu wake up they have more to loose than us
It’s the amount of tax that the government charge,not the oil companies fault.
The big oil companies constantly rip us off. When barrel price go up, forecourt prices go up almost instantly, but that never happens when barrel prices go down. They are greedy profiteering muggers who have their customers over a barrel (pun intended). Shame the British public just sit back and suck it up. In France the country would be brought to a standstill with strikes and demonstrations etc until a fair deal is found..
As much as the French like to protest about everything, the average fuel price in France IS HIGHER than in the UK! Data is taken from all over the country and shows as much a swing in pricing across the landscape. Don’t believe me, check out the website below, change the currency to sterling! It could be so much worse…and better, just look at the Middle East!
We’re not so bad off compared to some nations, though I do agree we are being seen off with dodgy forecourt pricing. How to tackle it, I reckon introducing a road tax per mileage system with trackers in everyones cars would work! Abolish the current road tax scheme (or cap it at a lower price). Different roads have different pricing. If your driving is mostly rural, it’s super cheap so as not to penalise you having to drive further.
I get this will hit sales reps and others, but if you use the road for your trade, you’ll have to absorb the cost or pass it on to your customers. Then the Government could reduce fuel duty by 10% perhaps at the same time.
Another alternative, I cycle approximately 9 miles to work everyday, rain or shine all year round. I really only drive on the weekend. Total mileage for last year was 7800/900 miles. By doing so, I guess I save myself a minimum of 3600 miles and therefore more £££ in my pocket. Less maintenance is needed on my car, similar on tyres.
On the other hand, some of my colleagues drive in everyday less than half the distance I commute (some barely ¾ mile!!), then whinge about the cost at the pumps!! I choose to cycle as the money I save by doing so can be used elsewhere, like paying my mortgage down quicker saving me tons of ££££ in interest! It’s also better for my health.
Take a good look at your lives, make changes if you can and reap the rewards in your pocket. If you won’t make a change, don’t whinge as its your choice not to. If you live less than 3miles from your place of work, get a bike! 3 miles is 15/30 mins of pedaling and it can take longer in a car to cover the same distance, so using time as a reason not to cycle is a weak excuse. (Granted, this is not the case for all)
Caveat: I realise cycling to work everyday (or at least some days) is not an option for all. If not a car, then possibly a big commuting Moped might be a better option, in the spring to autumn anyways.exceent fuel economy and will pay you back in commuting time and easy parking. Wet kit is excellent these days
Have a think, try it, stick with it through the thick and thin and you will see the rewards!
It’s the fuel tax plus the vat that is the problem.
Greed, that’s the only answer for these robbing B—–ds. The government need to do something
fuel is like food we have to buy it even if we do not want to, so it is a good cash cow for the greedy oil firms and the government alike if the oil companies drop the price the government ups the tax and the poor tax payer has no choice but to pay up. Best cash cow ever to every one but the motorist we cannot win. Both the multi billion oil companies and the government should realise the golden goose could one day bite back
Is there any way of factoring in all the ups and downs of the cost per barrel of oil and reasons why the forecourt price is what it is after 20 years of motoring?
Yes I do think the fuel companies should lower their prices as they are very quick to raise them when the wholesale price of fuel goes up. The AA is quite correct in stating that fuel is a necessity today as public transport is abysmal, infrequent in a lot of areas outside of major towns and cities, unreliable and expensive. More people than ever before travel to work, to access a bank (in our area there are no longer any banks), do the shopping, attend the dentist, doctors or hospital – the list goes on and all are necessary and definitely not a frivolous use of ones car. In the past services, family and work were all within a short distance, this is no longer the case and travel is essential to keep in touch and to access many services that have been curtailed in many areas.
I agree with the AAs view petrol & deisel are a basic necessity as we now live in a transport governed world. Everyone has acess to a car now not just the landed gentry as was therefore it is most definitely not a luxury item to have deisel or petrol. This applys very much to the rural areas where public transport fails so car journeys are essential.
Sainsbury’s Chelmsford, I believe I paid nearly £1.30 a litre within the past week. It is one o the cheapest within the Maldon/Che;msford area. The current government will do nothing for fear of upsetting big business and I don’t think the other parties would do a great deal either, as they will need the tax revenues to cover their other hair brained schemes.
Let’s have the current free trade and what the market can afford system for the more luxury end of things where we can decide to go without things like TVs, mobile phones, state of the art everything i.e. things we don’t really need. Yes we need clothes but do we need the £100 to £500.00 or more pair of shoes, trousers,, dresses etc it must be high time that the essentials of life such as staple foods, fuel, (heating and transport), water, sewage disposal and a few others had their prices either capped by HMG.or controlled (and I mean CONTROLLED) by say HMG operated ‘Boards’. Pay a decent wage to the leaders and you get a decent return, don’t fob us offer with the private sector pays better and gets better staff.
Somebody must know or have a shrewd idea of the f.o.b prices of crude and refined oils, certainly the c.i.f. values at the British or European entry ports. True the oil companies could try to cloud the issue by selling amongst themselves or other parts of their own empires to increase the price. Just make it plain to the companies and their shareholders that any fiddling of the figures would result i the immediate nationalisation of the company and a huge fine.
Or shall w continue or dash to serfdom where all but the mega wealth are owned by the banks and global corporation with no say in anything?
We live in East Yorkshire and the price of petrol and diesel have gone crazy at our local Asda store. A couple of months ago unleaded petrol was around 124.7 per litre whilst diesel was around 128.7 per litre. since then the price of petrol has fallen to 119.7 per litre and diesel has risen to 131.7 per litre which is the largest price gap I have ever seen at 12p difference. So why has this suddernly happened when crude oil prices are coming down, it seems to me that Asda are reducing petrol prices while increasing diesel prices to compensate for the petrol reductions. Now that they have increased the diesel price they now are sayign they are capping the prices at the pump and they wont go any higher than that. Lots of people are now complaining about this and are talking of boycotting Asda forecourts and who can blame them, its an absolute rip off by the supermarkets.