Predictions for 2017
News entry dated 27th Dec 2016

Predicting petrol prices in an increasingly unpredictable world isn’t an easy thing to do! However, that doesn’t mean we cannot try.

As we head into 2017, it’s inevitable that we’ll wonder what the new year may have in store for motorists, so in this article, we’ve summarised some of the things we think may come to pass.

Clearly, our predictions can be little more than conjecture, especially as they become more long-term, so please take them in the light-hearted manner intended. It will be fun to look back on these in a year’s time and see just how educated our “educated guesses” turned out to be!

Winter 2017 (January – March)

Winter drive

After seeing petrol prices shoot up in December, we think it’s likely there may be some stabilisation as we head into the New Year, particularly by the end of January – when the world will be watching the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Once Trump takes the keys to the White House, there’s a strong possibility that there will be downward pressure on the oil price, which will hopefully lead to falling petrol prices. While time will tell exactly what kind of protectionist decisions Trump makes, a pro-fossil fuels and pro-fracking president is likely to want to boost national production, which could put pressure on OPEC and other nations to lift their production caps to compete.

While it’s impossible to predict how financial markets will react, there’s also a chance the Dollar will fall once Trump takes office. If it does, this could also contribute to cheaper consumer fuel in the UK.

Spring 2017 (March – June)

The 20th March is the first day of spring in the UK, and the end of March is Theresa May’s target date for invoking Article 50 to begin Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. As such, it’s likely British eyes will turn away from the US and back to more local matters by the time the clocks change!

It’s almost impossible to predict what will happen to petrol prices around the invocation of Article 50, especially because we don’t know at the time of writing whether it will definitely be invoked in March at all. If it is, there’s a change it may result in another fall in Sterling, which is likely to push petrol prices up – to what degree is impossible to say. If it seems as if the UK may be heading for a “soft” Brexit, we could see the opposite happen, with Sterling strengthening and fuel prices falling instead.

UK Spring

Spring will also be time for another budget – the last before the spring budget becomes the “Spring Statement.” With all eyes likely to be firmly on Brexit, another fuel duty freeze seems most likely at this point.

One thing the budget is likely to address, however, is a way to finally deal with the nation’s lack of progress against emissions targets. The likelihood is that the spring budget won’t be a happy one for diesel drivers.

Summer 2017 (June – September)

The Geneva Motor Show takes place in summer 2017, and we expect electric cars to be big news. While there are only 1.5 Million electric cars globally (at the time of writing) and 1 Billion fuel driven vehicles, electric car adoption is growing ten times faster. This could go as far as affecting fuel prices if oil producers begin to worry about a potentially shrinking market.

Autumn 2017 (September – December)

As we head to Autumn 2017 our predictions must, by their nature, be somewhat bolder but potentially less accurate!

Britain will have its first Autumn budget, and we predict it could prove to be one of the most important budgets in recent history. The Chancellor will need a stimulus package for the next year that will reduce the national debt burden. However, he will also have to invest in growth to offset inflationary pressure and increase productivity.


At this point, we’re into the realms of educated guesswork, but we cautiously predict that the Chancellor will make a huge bet that the value of the Pound will rally against the Dollar. Combined with Trump’s USA increasing oil production capacity, this should bring fuel prices down. However, after eight years of fuel duty freezes, we can’t help but wonder if there’s not a good chance the government will finally raise this duty by 2.05 pence to make it 60 pence per litre.

Overall Predictions

2017 is going to be another difficult year for fuel prices with many significant events taking place that could impact costs – upwards or downwards.

While it seems highly unlikely that we’ll see extremes of pricing near the 145 pence per litre levels of 2012, we do expect prices to reach between 120-130 pence per litre at certain points in 2017.

So now, over to you! What do you think of our predictions, and what are yours? Let us know in the comments section below!


Geograph, Rich Tea, cc-by-sa2.0

Geograph, David Crocker, cc-by-sa2.0

John Barclay December 30, 2016

I think your predictions are at least as likely to be accurate as anyone else's! However, I do take issue with Nigel Edmonds' expressed wish to see prices per gallon posted again - in this difficult time, the last thing we need is to increase the confusion which already exists about measurements in the UK. Speaking as someone who embraced metric measurements many years ago - and I'm well over 70 now! - I've never looked back. Although I do agree with retaining miles for long distance measurements owing to the cost of changing road signage and the temporary dangers involved, everything else works fine and is easier as well. Thankfully, I'm no longer the only customer in the butcher shop who orders in grams and kilos - though most of the others who do are younger...let's not go backward and encourage more so-called "metric martyrs". Onward with the litres please!

ibby sterling December 30, 2016

I think as soon as Donald Trump takes office we will have world war 3 and then we won't have to worry about petrol prices.
Well that's my prediction - what's yours? Happy New year to everyone.

David Davies December 30, 2016

Interesting, but i always thought global oil prices were dictated by OPEC and their controls on production volumes. I'm no expert but i understand the volumes have been relatively unrestricted in 2016, which accounted for the drop in price per barrel, which eventually trickled through to pump prices and the drop from £1.40 to £1. OPEC have recently imposed volume caps, which led to the latest rise to £1.12 or thereabouts. Would be interested to hear your views on OPEC behaviours (volume controls) in 2017.
Agree that diesels are becoming a soft target for the Chancellor with recent news about the harmful effects of air-borne particulates. Unfortunately i drive one. So have been looking at buying a second hand electric car but concerned about price, range and battery life.

    ivan gill January 12, 2017

    OPEC are responsible for a significant portion of oil output but not all. US and Russia are not members for example. Also OPEC are notorious for saying they will cut production then one by one members brake their promise.

    The market has changed with tight oil and tar Sands. Many middle east countries can produce a barelationship at well under $10. Canadian tar Sands and US Ftaccing is economical at around 50 a barrel. Canada has vast reserves of tar Sands, more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. So although there is hylysteresis in pricing and price adjustments tend to overshoot, Ultimately price rises will ebookers limited by cost of production in North America. We won't see $100+ for a long time, at least not for any length of time. Global politics and war could affect short term pricing.

Nigel Edmonds December 30, 2016

Yes, very difficult to predict oil/petrol prices in this unpredictable world.
One thing I would like to see you campaign for is the prominent display of a price PER GALLON at every service station. My reasoning for this is that I believe that a lot of people think that, for example, a 4p per litre saving isn't worth worrying about or shopping around for. However, if people realised that this translated into an 18.2p per gallon difference, they might start to think differently. When you consider the exorbitant price of motorway fuel, the situation is of course more extreme.
How about it