Fuel prices at the pumps remained almost unchanged in November despite the price of oil increasing by $10 to $46 a barrel – a 27% monthly rise – according to RAC Fuel Watch.

The average price of a litre of unleaded petrol across the UK at the end of November was 114.33p – having fallen very slightly (0.19p) from 114.52p at the start of the month. Diesel dropped by a similar amount from 117.85ppl to 117.63ppl (0.22ppl).

The cost of petrol at the four big supermarkets was also virtually unchanged at 109.20ppl – a fall of just under half a pence (0.39ppl) – and diesel reduced by a penny (1.06ppl) to 112.66ppl.

According to the RAC the wholesale price increase did not register at the pump because retailers were able to absorb the extra cost. RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Normally, a sudden surge in the price of oil would have spelled bad news for drivers, but they were spared a pump price hike due to the fact retailers had been sitting on accumulated wholesale petrol price savings of around 5p a litre for a number of weeks. This saving has now been all but taken up by the unleaded wholesale price jumping by more than 3p a litre in November.

“The situation for diesel drivers is even worse as pump prices were around 7p a litre more expensive than they should have been, meaning retailers should have passed on some of this to drivers with a sizeable cut. Instead they decided to make bigger margins, presumably to make up for lost revenue due to the reduction in driving caused by the pandemic. With the diesel wholesale price increasing by nearly 4.5p in November retailers are even less likely to pass on the extra 3p of margin they’re still benefitting from.”