Pump in use GettyImages-524036576

The price of petrol has risen for the seventh successive month and is now more than 22ppl more expensive than a year ago – the biggest 12-month increase seen for 11 years – according to data from RAC Fuel Watch.

The average price of unleaded went up by 2.24ppl in May to 129.27ppl, while diesel increased by a similar amount, 1.95ppl, to 131.59ppl.

In the seven months since the country last saw the average price of petrol fall (November 2020) petrol has increased by 15.5ppl. Diesel has risen 14.4ppl in the last six months.

The current average price of petrol compares with the low price of 105.81ppl on 21 May 2020 after oil prices plunged to $13.21 a barrel at the beginning of the pandemic. Petrol last increased by this amount over a 12-month period in May 2010.

At an average price of 129.27ppl unleaded is now more expensive than it was at the start of 2020 prior to coronavirus arriving in the UK, and is at a price last seen in mid-August 2019. Diesel, however, at 131.59ppl, still hasn’t surpassed the 132ppl it reached at the end of January 2020.

The big four major supermarket chains have maintained a price advantage of 4ppl with their average price of petrol standing at 124.83ppl and diesel at 127.36ppl. At motorway services the average price of petrol is 146.78ppl and it is 149.59ppl for diesel after 2ppl and 1.6ppl rises in May.

RAC fuel spokesman 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.

“Looking at the wholesale price of both fuels, in normal circumstances unleaded definitely shouldn’t be continuing to rise with the numbers actually pointing to the potential for a 2ppl. And diesel is currently 4ppl too expensive, which suggests retailers are using the saving in the wholesale price to help make up for lower fuel sales over the last year.”