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Drivers facing petrol price rises as lockdown eases

Average price of a litre of petrol is up 4p, but it’s still cheaper than it was in January

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The average price of a litre of fuel went up in June, ending three months of price drops as lockdown eased.

Petrol prices went up 3.74p per litre, from an average of 107.11p to 110.85p, while diesel was up 2.89p per litre, rising from 112.07p to 114.96p.

The data from RAC Fuel Watch shows the prices rise in correlation to lockdown measures easing and more cars being on the road, with increasing demand seeing the price of a barrel of oil rising more than $6 (£4.80) to $41.87 (£33.51).

The lockdown price drops were driven by supermarkets, with many selling petrol for as low as £1 per litre helping to bring the petrol average to a low of 106.48p on May 19. Diesel saw an average of 111.8p on the same date.

However, RAC Fuel Watch says the ‘big four’ supermarkets are also now driving increases, with Morrisons, in particular, bumping up the price of both fuels by about 7p per litre, followed closely by Asda.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “The pump price rises witnessed in June will have been a nasty shock to the system for drivers. While those who continued to drive regularly throughout the pandemic will have benefitted from some very low prices, millions won’t have so will be disappointed that just as they start to drive more again prices are on the up.

“It is, of course, the lack of demand for fuel which caused prices to drop in the first place so sadly it’s no great surprise that they’re on the rise again now.

“But drivers should take quite a lot of comfort from the fact that both petrol and diesel are a whopping 17p a litre cheaper than they were at the end of January. That means a tank of fuel is on average £9 less than it was then.

“And with RAC data predicting this weekend could be the busiest of the year so far on the roads that’s at least a little bit of better news, particularly as the direction of travel for fuel prices is upwards.

“Oil producer group OPEC and its allies are continuing to restrict output which has successfully driven up the barrel price and that can only mean one thing for drivers in the coming weeks – higher prices.

“This is confirmed by RAC Fuel Watch data which shows that petrol is likely to go up by 2p a litre in the next fortnight. Diesel, however, shouldn’t rise much at all unless retailers use the saving in its slightly lower wholesale price to subsidise petrol.”

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Darren Cassey
Darren Cassey
Articles by Darren Cassey are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.