Petrol and diesel prices hit their highest level for eight years as oil prices rose by 11% during September, according to new RAC Fuel Watch data.
The average price of unleaded petrol at the pumps rose by 1.5ppl to 136.83ppl while diesel rose by 2.5ppl to 139.25ppl. This makes petrol 22ppl more expensive than a year ago (114.61ppl 30 September 2020) and diesel 21ppl dearer (118.10ppl)
Both fuels are now at prices last seen eight years ago in autumn 2013, with petrol being 5.65ppl off the all-time high of 142.48ppl and diesel 8.68ppl off the record of 147.93ppl.
An RAC spokesperson said the rise at the pumps has been driven not by the delivery crisis but by a 10.65% increase in the price of a barrel of oil from $71.29 to $78.88 throughout September.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Not only are motorists struggling to put fuel in their vehicles, they are having to pay through the nose for it as the rising cost of a barrel of oil is causing further pain at the pumps.
“As life moves ever closer to normal as the world gets to grips with Covid-19, demand for oil is outpacing supply, and with producer group OPEC+ deciding on Monday not to release more oil, the barrel price has now broken through the $80-mark for the first time in more than three years.
“This looks likely to spell further misery for drivers at the pumps as we head towards Christmas, especially as some analysts are predicting the price could even hit $90 before the end of the year.
“If this were to happen, we could see the average price of unleaded hit a new record of around 143ppl. Diesel would shoot up to 145ppl.
“Drivers have had to endure the average price of petrol going up for 10 out of the last 12 months and now, because of the supply crisis, many have had great difficulty getting hold of it just so they can go about their daily lives. While we’ve heard of some smaller retailers taking advantage of the situation by charging very high prices for their fuel, these cases appear to be few and far between, with the majority of retailers acting responsibly.
“Since many of Britain’s pumps ran dry over the last weekend of September our patrols have dealt with a surge in out-of-fuel breakdowns. At its worst they attended 13 times as many as they would do typically in a single day, but fortunately this has now subsided to just twice as many.
“As forecourts’ fuel stocks return to normal drivers will inevitably switch from worrying about whether they can get the petrol or diesel they need to just how much a fill-up is costing them.
“Drivers in London and South East will undoubtedly feel particularly hard done by as they are still experiencing problems with getting hold of fuel while also paying the highest prices in the UK.”
Prices at the four major supermarkets were 4ppl cheaper than the UK average while at motorway services they were 15ppl more expensive for petrol at 151.55ppl and 156.35ppl for diesel. Asda sold the cheapest unleaded petrol at 132ppl while Sainsbury’s offered the lowest price diesel at 134.28ppl.
Motorists in Northern Ireland had the cheapest fuel in the UK on average at 133.56ppl for petrol and 135.46ppl for diesel while the highest prices were in the south-east of England at 137.98ppl for petrol and 140.34ppl for diesel.