April was a varied month regarding the price of petrol and diesel, and experts are already predicting that May could see more changes ahead. The possible merger of Asda and Sainsbury’s supermarkets could play a part in price changes for May as the combined supermarket group would automatically become the largest petrol retailer by volume of fuel sold, so would also have an immense influence on the cost of fuel in Britain.
Average prices in April
The average price for unleaded in April rose from 119.8 pence per litre in March to 121.4 pence per litre in April. The rise in diesel was less significant, increasing from 122.6 pence per litre in March to 124.1 pence per litre in April. For unleaded drivers, the increase came at both ends of the month – the first week saw it creep up to 121p then again in the third week, by another 2p on the average price. Diesel drivers saw a steady growth throughout the month, increasing by 1p each week.
The reason for these increases was the price of Brent Crude oil, which saw steady growth during the month. On the 2nd of April, the price was $67.64 a barrel and rose to $68,65 on the 9th and again to $71.42 on the 16th. It saw another increase jumping to $74.01 on the 23rd but dropped back down by the end of the month, finishing on $73.12.
Following the trend
In the middle of the month, experts were already predicting that the price at the pump would increase, which it did for both petrol and diesel. They predicted around 3p a litre for both which proved to be an accurate assessment – both ended the month approximately 3p a litre higher than they began.
The price in the middle of the month for crude oil reached the highest figure since November 2014 when it jumped to $75.20 a barrel. It came at the end of a six-day rally where prices kept rising and saw an increase of more than 20% since prices initially dropped in February.
Finally, at the end of the month, the price fell a little despite supply concerns regarding the US imposing sanctions on Iran. It led to the price ending the month slightly lower than in the third week although prices at the pump continued to rise right to the end.
What caused the rise?
The cost of Brent Crude oil can be influenced by any number of factors around the world. In the middle of the month, there was a dramatic spike in the price that was connected to the ongoing crisis in Syria and the chemical weapons attack. It caused concerns that there would be a war between the West and Russia in Syria and the price of oil rose accordingly. This rise in oil price has a direct impact, but there is usually a delay of a few weeks between the oil price and the effect of this on the pump price.
Experts are also saying that the price of crude oil could continue to rise into May. April saw a slight drop in the price at the end of the month, but Reuters is predicting that the average price for the whole year will soon be above $67 a barrel. Reuters claims that strong compliance with OPEC-led product cuts and supply disruptions have been big factors in causing this price rise.
However, America may continue to disrupt global oil markets by ignoring OPEC and increasing oil production and supplies as part of their aggressive trade war threats they are currently undertaking with China and the EU.
The month of May will see US president, Donald Trump, decide on the deal with Iran which has been featured a lot in the news. It could even have an impact on the price we pay for fuel. Experts say that if the president pulls out of the deal and sanctions are re-imposed, the cost of oil could rise by $2-3 a barrel. Some are talking about a worst-case scenario of oil passing the $80 a barrel mark.
Closer to home – supermarket merge
Another big story this week that could affect our future fuel prices is the proposed merger between supermarket giants Asda and Sainsbury’s. The deal is still in the early stages, and the Competition and Markets Authority will look at the merger from many perspectives.
For UK drivers, one of the leading concerns is the lack of competition. Supermarkets usually top the list for the cheapest places to buy fuel, and the merger could see the new company have 600 forecourts across the UK. Currently, Asda has a price promise where they will always be the cheapest fuel station within three miles – but Sainsbury’s have no such guarantee.
So, will the merger see Sainsbury’s adopt this policy? Or will it see Asda abandon it? Retail experts say that the new merger company should have lower supply chain costs so, therefore, the price of everything from a litre of fuel to a carton of milk should go down. But, will this be the reality as the new company wants to maximise profits?
Other concerns will be around the fuels offered. Will both forecourts provide the same products or will they remain with their own branded fuels? Will the quality of products change? The deal is one that has a lot of questions that need to be answered before UK drivers can feel comfortable about it.
Did you notice your fuel bill increasing in April? And do you regularly use Asda or Sainsbury’s for your fuel and do you think the merger is going to mean cheaper fuel prices? Let us know in the comments
I always get my fuel from the supermarkets groups because the prices on the forcourts of garages are constantly higher? Even before they get new supplys in. But are very slow to bring them down again.
I never use cheap supermarket fuel anyway, because there is a clue to why it is so much cheaper than the other normal forecourt fuels and that is because it is a lower grade petrol. I was using petrol from one of the above named supermarkets and noticed a vast drop in the performance of my car and the fuel consumption was higher than normal forecourt petrol. You basically get what you pay for!
Supermarket fuel has to meet the same standards as other fuel, so it cannot be “lower grade” as you put it. Your assertion that it is worse for being cheaper is not true. Of course, if your engine is designed to use 98 RON higher octane fuel, you will get better performance from Shell Vpower or Tesco Momentum fuels which have a premium price. But engines designed to run on 95 RON would not get a benefit.
Rubbish you don’t know what you’re talking about
Rubbish all fuels sold have the kite standard.
55,000 miles in my discovery and monitoring the fuel consumption with every tank on fuelly has shown me that fuel source makes no odds on economy with the 300tdi engine. There are other factors such as weight and tyres which can make a difference and there may be a difference in sensitity between vehicles/engines which could be the source of the argument here.
Off course, all fuel has kite standards, but garage fuels are above the BASIC KITE MARK REQUIRED STANDARD, That’s why its more expensive, it’s the same old story, YOU ONLY GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
I fully agree. I work in this industry and know what goes on. Supermarkets are always having the pump filters changed, by a company I know. There filters become clogged with a film due to the fact that they have more BIO product per litre than the average garage. All this MUCK is going into your tank, HENCE lower performance and less mileage. If you keep your car more than 3 yrs, you will definitely find you will have problems . I personally use shell v power, having bought an old BMW Z4 found it totally unresponsive to acceleration,BUT after 3 tanks full of V POWER UNLEADED it’s become the car it should be. It definitely does what the company says. It cleans all the muck from you car. Absolutely Amazing Fuel , with every penny.stay off SUPERMARKET FUEL,
Fully endorse your comment David. My Verso gets clogged with carbon when I buy supermarket diesel and the V power diesel from Shell doesn’t clog it up but clears it. So no choice but to buy Shell V Power even though it’s dearer..😐😐
Fuel prices are a p*ss take. Back in 2010 oil was around $130 per barrel, and petrol/diesel was selling for around £1.30 per litre. Today, oil is around $75, but fuel is selling at around the £1.25 per litre mark. Given that there has been no increase in either fuel duty or VAT, this mismatch of prices is purely down to profiteering by the oil companies.
Is it just coincidental that both BP and Exxon have announced records in the last few days?
Precisely my thoughts on the matter. The whole industry is run by crooks and spivs. Always have been.
But Brent isn’t used as fuel in britain so there’s no need for fuel to go up. It’s all about profit for shareholders. Any excuse to put it up. My pension went up so was that an excuse too
By tracking the rise and fall in the price of crude oil against the same criteria of costs at the pump, are these changes in sync with each other i.e is the time lag within the changes identical? Do the pump prices rise at the same rate as they fall?
It would also be interesting to see the price tracked against the $/£ as crude oil is priced and paid for in dollars.
The price of fuel has got to rise, its the start of the school holiday season again. For decades, both BP and Shell told us that they made no profits from forecourt prices, but when oil costs dropped, they moaned to their shareholders that loss of profits were causing loss of dividends. However, as the costs have increased, the shareholder has a fat wallet once again. There are two other things which affect our prices, the tax that governments slap on a litre, and the short sleeved city slicker hedge fund merchants, out to make any ready buck.
Let’s be frank – the rise in the prices is not simply due to the rising price of Brent Crude Oil, but due to the decision, back in February of OPEC (led by Saudi Arabia, of course) to limit the production in order to force the price up; OPEC do this whenever they feel that they are not getting the money they believe they deserve. I am old enough to remember them doing this in the 1970’s, ’80’s, 90’s, etc…
When are we going to stand up to these greedy, international bullies??
Probably when we stop selling arms to them and they stop buying up “cheap” British companies and housing
By going to electric cars this will stomp out high Petrol/Deisel prices altogether.
You may be right but if everyone went electric and the government was losing millions if not billions in revenue do you not think that to compensate for it they won’t put up V.A.T on electricity? of course they will and that’ll effect everyone regardless whether they have an electric vehicle or not. Fact is they’re crooks, we are taxed to death in this country and the motorist is an easy target. but the people of ‘Great’ Britain seem to no longer have a back bone and just keep taking it all in the chin regardless! Friends of mine emigrated to Australia and when i asked them why they were going the summed it up in one sentence ‘because over there they work to live, over here you live to work!’ We may have reasonably low income tax compared to other countries but when you look at all the other taxes we pay, we’re actually paying a damn site more and taxes motorists pay is a prime example of rip off Britain at it’s best. But it’ll never change now, far too many PC brigade pulling politicians strings. Fact is we, in the grand scheme of things, are a very very small island and even if we all went electric vehicles tomorrow the positive effects on climate change would be minimal at best. But as usual we Brits seem to think we’re a lot bigger than we actually are always punching above our true weight!
I use biodiesel in my old Lucida and LPG in my other cars as well as being cheaper they are cleaner and better for the environment. As others have said Electric is the way forward and the quicker it happens the better
Any excuse to rip the motorist off , The war in Syria has been going on for well over 5 years. Now the oil companies have woke up to it, They put the pump prices up.
What they going to do when all cars are electric ?
The oil companies encourage war ,it was Shell Bp that started the civil war in Nigeria .
Pain at the pump? No … pains the pockets of the motorists. Fuel pump give profits to its owner.
Pain at the pump? No … pains to the pockets of the motorists. Fuel pump give profits to pumping station owners.
As with all big businesses the consumer always comes last . looking after shareholders and profits is their first priority .But if you cannot afford to pay for fuel WHY do you own a car . Stop moaning when prices increase prices are always going up for everything you buy
So, oil prices rose during April – but when did the refineries buy the oil? I imagine it was before that, when prices were lower.
And what about other times, when the price per barrel was double what it is now? Forecourt prices were only marginally higher, then the price of crude plummeted – but forecourt prices didn’t.
And let’s not forget all those other wonderful inventions that rely squarely on crude oil for their existence, I don’t see their prices fluctuating so widely.
its our robbing Government that creates high fuel prices , in February I was in Australia paying 61 pence per litre for unleaded ,
Long drive just to save 60p a litre
seem to go up 1p or 2p every time I go to the pump. something dodgy going on somewhere
It’s all bad news as far as I am concerned ASDA do not keep promises they promised 12 months ago that at the beginning of 2018 all the supermarket prices for fuel at the pumps would all be the same where I live ASDA petrol is at least four to five pence a litre more expensive than Sainsbury’s
I buy my fuel from Asda which is 3 miles away. My local Sainsbury is 1 mile away but usually 2p dearer.
Tesco dont come anywhere near the others but they offer club card points as a bribe. I don’t know anyone who goes there just for fuel.
Well if Asda can do it why shouldn’t Sainsbury’s if the merge definitely goes ahead why should they rise the petrol keep the same as Asda
I dont give a big rats a**e what people say about losing diesel cars, I live in the suberbs, drive on open green spaces and use motorways. Why am I worried about london pollution. I’d take a train to there…..