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Unleaded prices fall, diesel prices on the increase

By Josh Elliott
News entry dated 11th Oct 2017

The cost of Unleaded fuel has fallen in the past two weeks by 0.8 pence a litre due to a fall in the cost of wholesale fuel, as reported widely in the media, but the same can’t be said for diesel. According to the latest information on PetrolPrices, in October average diesel prices have increased by 0.3 pence per litre, giving diesel drivers yet another reason to be concerned about their choice of car.

Supermarket price cuts

PetrolPrices reported two weeks ago, ASDA claimed to had dropped their prices by 2p a litre, but our research at that time found that prices were still rising at that point.

Since then ASDA, Morrisons and Sainsburys have all finally started to cut the cost of unleaded on their forecourts. ASDA as usual, took the first step by reducing the cost of unleaded by up to 2 pence per litre across its 308 petrol stations. This dropped the price considerably lower than the average throughout September. Morrisons reacted quickly to ASDA’s change as the cost of wholesale fuel reduced. The chain’s willingness to pass savings on to its customers has pleased motoring groups.
 

Driver benefits

The leading supermarkets’ quick reaction to lower wholesale prices has left not just motoring groups happy, but consumers too. Motorists tend to spend more on fuel as the Winter months close in. Cold cars need to use more fuel in order to run and power heating systems. As such, this price drop will be a real help to those who drive Unleaded cars, but the same cannot be said for Diesel drivers, where a small price rise feels like another kick in the teeth.

Unleaded fuel rose to an average of 119.3 pence per litre before this recent drop, which has now fallen to 108.5 pence per litre. This was due in part to tropical storm Harvey disrupting oil refineries in Texas, which pushed up the wholesale price. With Harvey bringing winds strong enough to shut down plants on the Gulf Coast, this caused a surge in the demand for unleaded which threatened to become more expensive than diesel.

Diesel drivers out of luck

As the price of a barrel of oil has risen to $69, its highest rate since summer 2015, diesel drivers unfortunately cannot expect similar price reductions at the pump. In fact so far in October, average diesel prices have increased by 0.3 pence per litre.

The situation deals a fresh blow to diesel drivers, who have already had a run of bad news following the government’s change of heart about diesel cars, as well as the introduction of an emissions charge for those who drive in the capital.

Despite diesel cars being championed as being better for the environment by past governments, it has now been found that even new diesel engines are far more polluting than first thought. A typical diesel car emits 3.65 more tonnes of carbon dioxide over its lifecycle than a petrol car does.

This is thought to be because diesel has to undergo a more intensive refinery process. It combusts at a higher temperature than petrol, so its components weigh more. It is because of this that governments across Europe have been making plans to ban diesel cars, along with older petrol models, from their roads over the coming years. This is all part of a bid to clean up the air in their major cities, with London being a prime example.

New diesel sales figures dive

Although this doesn’t seem to be putting people off of buying second-hand diesel cars, the demand for new diesel cars has taken a big hit. The number of new registrations in September was down by 21.7% year-on-year. This suggests that people are confused about the air quality plans and aren’t confident about purchasing a new diesel until they know more.

With all of these talks around diesel cars focusing on the negatives, and giving this particular fuel type increasingly bad press, diesel drivers are going to feel even more targeted because of their car choice if they start consistently missing out on lower prices at the pumps too.

Are diesel drivers more likely to change their vehicle type if they’re feeling the pressure at the pumps? Will this be the final straw for already beleaguered diesel drivers? Share your views by leaving a comment.

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