The average price of petrol increased by 5.44ppl in April, the second highest monthly rise since 2000, according to data from RAC Fuel Watch.
It reports that litre of unleaded petrol increased from 122.62p to 128.06p as retailers passed on wholesale price increases driven by a 5% jump in the cost of a barrel of oil which went up more than $3 to $72.50, having hit a high of $74.38 earlier in the month.
The only time petrol has increased by more in month was in May 2018, when petrol went up 5.98ppl from 123.43ppl to 129.41p.
Diesel also increased by 3ppl from 130.70p to 133.70p. RAC Fuel Watch also shows the average difference between petrol and diesel wholesale prices was only a penny throughout April, yet the retail price of diesel was an average of 6ppl more expensive than petrol throughout the month.
The country’s four big supermarket fuel retailers – Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury – increased their fuel prices above the UK average. Their average for unleaded went up by 5.58ppl from 118.62p to 124.20p, with diesel going up by 4.1p from 127.47p to 131.57p.
Motorway petrol went up 3.6p from an average of 141.93p to 145.53p while diesel increased 2.79p from 151.27p to 154.06p.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “RAC Fuel Watch data shows the price of unleaded rose every single day from the end of March for three and half weeks (until 24 April), which is the longest run of daily price rises since May last year when unleaded increased 6p a litre setting a new monthly price rise record dating back to 2000.
“But diesel drivers have much to be aggrieved about as the fuel not only suffered a 3p a litre hike in price, its pump price was 6p higher than petrol on average in April – despite the fact its wholesale cost was very similar to that of petrol.
“It is clear from our monitoring of forecourt and wholesale prices that retailers have been using the cheaper wholesale cost of diesel to subsidise petrol pump prices and had they not, a new monthly price rise record would have been set. As a result diesel drivers – and businesses that doesn’t buy fuel in advance – are now all paying far more than they should be. To put this pricing discrepancy in perspective, last year the amount of diesel sold was almost double that of petrol (30.5bn v 15.8bn litres).
“The rise in forecourt prices is being driven by the increase in the cost of oil which has been brought about by oil producer group OPEC and non-member Russia working together to restrict oil supply, coupled with lower production from Venezuela and Libya due to troubles and US sanctions on Iran.
“OPEC is due to meet at the end of next month in Vienna so we can only hope for a relaxation of production targets.”