MSE News

Petrol prices reach highest level in two years - here's how to cut costs

Unleaded prices are at their highest level in two years, experiencing the biggest annual increase in 11-years, according to motoring firm the RAC. It blames the hikes on retailers charging motorists more to make up for falling fuel sales during the pandemic. 

The average cost for a litre of unleaded has soared to 129.27p, which is the highest level since August 2019 (when it stood at the same price) data from the RAC Fuel Watch reveals. Compared to this time last year, prices have risen by 22p/litre, which is the biggest 12-month increase seen for 11 years. 

Diesel, meanwhile, is now almost 20p dearer than at the end of last May after a 14.4p/litre hike in the past six months alone. The average cost for a litre of diesel now stands at at 131.59p, although it still hasn’t surpassed the 132p a litre it reached at the end of January 2020.

According to the RAC, this means a full tank for a 55-litre family car will set you back £71.10 to fill up with unleaded, and £72.37 for diesel. The RAC adds that it's the seventh month in a row of rising prices. For tips on how to cut prices and improve fuel efficiency, check out our Cheap Petrol and Diesel guide.

Petrol price vary by postcode

Petrol prices vary by postcode though, the RAC found that:

  • The most expensive region in the UK for unleaded is London, at an average of 130.87p/litre. 
  • The least expensive region for unleaded is Northern Ireland, where prices average at around 125.11p/litre.
  • When it comes to diesel, the south east is the most expensive region at 132.89p/litre. 
  • Northern Ireland is the cheapest region for diesel at 127.47p/litre. 

View our Cheap Petrol and Diesel guide for info on how to use to find the cheapest fuel in your area. 

Drive more efficiently to cut fuel use

Other top tips to cut petrol costs include the following - but visit our Cheap Petrol and Diesel guide for the full info: 

  • Make your car more fuel efficient - for example, by taking off roof racks and keeping tyres inflated. 
  • Drive more efficiently to cut fuel use - for example, by accelerating gradually and braking naturally. 
  • Use a cashback card that pays you each time you spend on petrol. 
  • Drive less. One option is to share lifts to work with friends, for example. There are a few sites that connect people doing the same journey, such as Liftshare. 

RAC: 'Future of fuel prices is hard to predict'

The RAC says future fuel prices are hard to predict and that it ultimately depends on global oil production and and whether retailers fairly reflect wholesale costs in the price they charge motorists. 

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: "As always, the future of fuel prices is hard to predict more than a few weeks in advance and even more so now as the pandemic appears to have altered the dynamics of fuel retailing, with the supermarkets having an even greater stranglehold on the market.

“Drivers’ fuel price fate depends on what happens with global oil production and demand. Oil producers had curbed supply due to lower demand but have been releasing more product as the travel recovery continues."

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