Press release -
More pump price rises take petrol to highest in three years
Motorists begin 2018 paying the highest price for petrol since the end of 2014, RAC Fuel Watch data reveals.
An analysis of fuel prices for December shows the average price of unleaded increased for the second month running – this time by half a pence from 120.66p to 121.11p (0.45p) while diesel went up from 123.06p to 123.46p (0.4p). A litre of petrol is now at its highest point since 2nd December 2014.*
Both fuels have increased substantially from July when petrol was at its cheapest point of the year at 114.33p a litre (up 6.8p) and diesel was 115.02p (up 8.4p). This means a tank of unleaded for an average 55-litre family car now costs £66.61 – £3.73 more than it did in July. For diesel, a fill-up now stands at £67.90 – £4.64 more than in the summer.
The current higher pump prices are a far cry from early 2016 when both fuels averaged 102p a litre. But – more positively, they are still considerably cheaper than April 2012 when the UK average prices of petrol and diesel reached record highs of 142p and 148p a litre respectively.
Fuel price highs and lows
|Date||Key date description||Petrol - pence per litre||Diesel - pence per litre||£ v $||Oil price||Petrol 55-litre tank||Diesel 55-litre tank|
|28/12/2017||2017 end of year||121.11||123.46||$1.35||$66.61||£66.61||£67.90|
|02/07/2017||2017 petrol & diesel low||114.33||115.02||$1.29||$48.98||£62.88||£63.26|
|29/12/2016||2016 end of year||117.23||119.63||$1.23||$54.86||£64.48||£65.80|
|02/03/2016||2016 petrol low||101.65||n/a||$1.40||$36.41||£55.91||n/a|
|14/02/2016||2016 diesel low||n/a||100.78||$1.44||$32.69||n/a||£55.43|
|13/05/2015||Last time oil was above $66.61||116.20||120.51||$1.57||$66.69||£63.91||£66.28|
|30/12/2015||2015 end of year||102.89||106.18||$1.47||$35.75||£56.59||£58.40|
|02/12/2014||Last time petrol was 121p||121.08||n/a||$1.56||$71.22||£66.59||n/a|
|16/04/2012||Petrol record high||142.48||n/a||$1.59||$117.25||£78.36||n/a|
|12/04/2012||Diesel record high||n/a||147.93||$1.58||$120.47||n/a||£81.36|
Fuel prices at the four big supermarkets went up by more than half a pence a litre in December with petrol rising from 117.26p to 117.84p and diesel from 119.69p to 120.34p. The price rises have been driven by the increased cost of oil which is now at its highest since May 2015 at $66.61 – the cost of a barrel rose 3% in December having started the month at $64.59.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Sadly, December was the month oil reached its highest point for over two and a half years – something which motorists are now feeling the effect of at the pumps.
“On a brighter note, the shutdown of the North Sea Forties pipeline did not cause the price of oil to increase as many expected. It had been feared this would lead to petrol and diesel going up in the run-up to Christmas, but luckily for drivers global oil production was not negatively affected as a result.
“It’s hard to see pump prices getting much cheaper in the early part of 2018. Unfortunately, the good times of lower cost fuel appear to be over and it’s probably now far more likely that we will see them going up as OPEC’s oil production cuts are starting to have the desired effect of reducing the global oil glut and pushing the barrel price higher.”
Regional fuel price variation
The North East experienced the biggest increased in the price of unleaded with a litre rising nearly a penny from 120.06p to 120.92p. Northern Ireland finished 2017 with the cheapest petrol at 120.27p and the South East with the most expensive at 121.87p.
London suffered the greatest rise in the price of diesel as a result of a litre going up 0.94p to 124.15p. This was still cheaper than the average price in the South East of 124.29p – the highest in the UK. Northern Ireland once again had the cheapest diesel at the start and end of the month with the cost of a litre hardly increasing.
Regional average unleaded pump prices
|Unleaded||03/12/2017||31/12/2017||Change - ppl|
|Yorkshire And The Humber||120.42||120.33||-0.09|
|Diesel||03/12/2017||31/12/2017||Change - ppl|
|Yorkshire And The Humber||122.88||122.95||0.07|
Notes to Editors
* Average fuel prices quoted in theRAC Fuel Watch November report are based on Experian Catalist data from 1 to 29 December 2017 (wholesale prices) and 3 to 31 December 2017 (retail prices).
For all media enquiries, please contact the RAC press office team on +44 (0)1454 664 123. The line is manned by an on-call press officer outside office hours.
Our press team can:
- Answer all RAC-related media enquiries
- Provide comment on all topical UK motoring stories
- Provide motoring research and data to inform debate
- Give motoring advice for broadcast or publication
- Arrange interviews with RAC spokespeople - ISDN radio studio facilities available
You can also follow the RAC press office on Twitter: twitter.com/RACPress
About the RAC
First formed in 1897 the RAC has been looking after the needs of its members and championing the interests of motorists for 120 years.
Today it has more than eight million members and is one of the UK’s most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, insurance, buying a used car, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – the RAC offers a solution for all motoring needs. The RAC is committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.
The RAC is the motorist’s champion and campaigns to support the interests of its members and UK motorists at a national level. This includes voicing concerns about the increasing cost of motoring, particularly the price of fuel and the high level of tax levied on it, advancing levels of road safety, and supporting the needs of all drivers, from young to old.
The RAC’s annual Report on Motoring – first published in 1989 – provides a clear insight into the concerns and issues facing today’s motorists.
For the very latest news on UK fuel prices, check RAC Fuel Watch or follow #racfuelwatch on Twitter. RAC Fuel Watch is a comprehensive guide to the latest UK unleaded petrol and diesel prices – both at the wholesale level and at the pump. RAC Fuel Watch analyses how prices changed through the previous month and compares the most recent prices with those from three, six and 12 months before.
- RAC patrols fix four out of five vehicles at the roadside and on average within 30 minutes
- RAC vans carry more than 500 parts and tools to get members’ vehicles going again
- 92% of members would recommend RAC Rescue to their friends and family