The past year was nothing if not eventful in many respects! We’ve seen a vote to leave the EU (complete with no shortage of political drama in the aftermath), and the controversial presidential success of Donald Trump over on the other side of the pond.
Before we move into what seems likely to be an equally notable year, here’s a round-up of what happened in the world of petrol prices and motoring in 2016. Some of this now seems like an awfully long time ago!
January 2016 saw many of us enjoying petrol and diesel for less than one Pound per litre, helped along by low oil prices and one of several supermarket price wars we experienced throughout the year. However, as the month drew to a close, oil prices began to recover, causing us to speculate as to whether we’d seen the end of the price reductions.
The oil price was volatile throughout February, leading us (and others) to wonder whether petrol prices would rise or fall. As it turned out, no large rises occurred thanks to a global glut of crude. With the budget approaching, there was also considerable speculation as to whether fuel duty would be increased – thankfully something that didn’t happen.
In March, fuel duty was frozen, but sadly we did see petrol and diesel prices start to rise slowly. We also witnessed the usual traffic delays over the bank holiday weekend, and saw the launch of fuel price signs along the M5 motorway – part of a pilot scheme from Highways England.
In April there was plenty of discussion on the site about changes to road tax, which will still take effect in April 2017 – details here. We reported on the fact that plenty of drivers of relatively low-emission vehicles would end up paying more – something that unsurprisingly remains controversial to this day.
Meanwhile, petrol and diesel prices continued to edge up, and while a 99p litre was still a possibility, these deals became far harder to find.
May was a busy month for fuel and motoring news. Brexit referendum fever started to build, and we looked at how the price of fuel varied between Britain and mainland Europe. We also reported on the spread of average speed cameras across the UK and the possibility of driving licenses “going digital” after the DVLA released an app. As yet we’ve heard little more about this particular story!
June 2016 marked the launch of our free revamped PetrolPrices.com apps! Since then we’ve continued to work on them, fix bugs and add features. They’re now installed on in excess of 120,000 Android and iOS devices across the UK and hopefully saving our members a considerable amount of money.
Of course the biggest news of June was the “out” vote in the Brexit referendum. While petrol prices continued to climb steadily in run-up and aftermath, the shock price increases some parties predicted didn’t come to pass.
July saw opposing forces affecting petrol prices. While a post-referendum Sterling fall served to push prices up, the price of oil stumbled, leading the two factors to largely cancel each other out.
Also in July, we discussed some anecdotal evidence that suggested many drivers were managing to get away with abusing the electronic road tax system, and not being penalised for failing to keep things up to date.
August began with another supermarket petrol price war. Morrisons and Asda both introduced price caps and saved money for plenty of drivers.
Unfortunately, while motorists were able to save on fuel, we also reported on rising motor insurance costs – for the first but not the only time in 2016.
September 2016 started with chaos on the roads for Kent residents, after problems with traffic queues heading for Dover ferries and the Channel Tunnel were compounded by an accident destroying a bridge on the M20.
Following on from the story about increasing insurance premiums in August, we also conducted a survey that revealed that over 70% of motorists had had cars damaged whilst stationery, with very few perpetrators stopping to “own up.”
In October, we launched our exclusive “FuelBack” tools, which allow you to earn fuel cards when purchasing the kind of motoring products and services you need to buy anyway. A large number of our members have already earned fuel cards by taking advantage of these exclusive offers. (Please note you’ll only be able to gain access to “FuelBack” when you’re logged in to our site – membership is completely free if you’ve not joined already!)
Also in October, we saw autumn fuel prices go up – for the first time in six years.
November started with another story of car insurance increases, but this rapidly became small news when Donald Trump was elected as President of the United States on 8th November.
Plenty more happened in November too! Trump’s victory caused the Dollar to fall and Sterling to recover slightly, which allowed petrol prices to fall a little. A small-scale supermarket petrol price war also broke out, which included Morrisons offering unleaded for less than a Pound a litre, but only for people spending over £50 in store.
Fuel duty was also frozen in the Autumn Statement, and a report found that Britain’s roads were the most congested in Europe. All in all this made for a very busy month of motoring news!
Unfortunately, we didn’t end the year on the highest of notes, because petrol and diesel prices started to climb, as you’re no doubt aware. We also reported, as usual, on the likelihood of travel delays over the Christmas period. We imagine more than one of the members reading has already been caught in a hold up of some description!
So, there we have our round-up of 2016. We thank all our members for being with us throughout the year, and look forward to saving you all more money on fuel in the new year.
IMAGE CREDITS: Geograph, Flickr