Three consecutive months of price reductions on the UK’s forecourts came to a halt in February as both petrol and diesel went up slightly.
Data from RAC Fuel Watch shows the UK average price of a litre of petrol was up by 0.88p to 120.42p by the end of the month, while diesel climbed more than a penny 1.24p to 129.88p.
Since the beginning of November the average price of unleaded has decreased by 11ppl, taking it from 130.61ppl to 119.60ppl at the end of January. Diesel also reduced, but not by as much, falling 8ppl from 136.93ppl to 128.74ppl over the same period.
The big four supermarkets raised their prices slightly to 117ppl for unleaded (up 0.30ppl) and to 126.10ppl for diesel (up 0.48ppl). This was led by Asda which, after more than six weeks of keeping its prices the same, took the decision to pass on slight increases in wholesale prices to its customers.
The price rises were driven by a 5% jump in the price of oil which added $3 across the month taking the barrel price up to $65.13 by the close of February, although at one point it topped $67 – a price not seen since mid-November last year. The increase in the price of crude has been driven by production cuts made by OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) in partnership with Russia.
The oil price increase was softened a little by a 2% strengthening of the pound against the dollar, because oil is traded in dollars. The pound started the month at $1.30 and closed at $1.33. The combination of the oil price rise and the slight strengthening of the pound led to the wholesale price of unleaded rising by 0.82ppl and diesel by 1.82ppl.