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September sees second consecutive month of pump price rises

Press Release   •   Oct 05, 2016 00:01 BST

  • Average diesel prices now at highest point since August 2015
  • Cost of filling a family size petrol car £5 more expensive than at the beginning of the year
  • Rising oil price, fuelled by speculation about production cap, impacting retail prices

The cost of unleaded petrol and diesel crept up again in September, as a result of rising world oil prices putting upward pressure on the wholesale cost of both fuels, new data from RAC Fuel Watch shows.*

The average cost of a litre of petrol ended the month at 112.07p, up 0.48p on the average price at the start of September and just short of the 2016 high price of 112.33p. Diesel meanwhile averaged 113.34p per litre at the end of September, the highest average price since August 2015, and up 0.42p on the price at the beginning of the month. Supermarket prices both rose faster than average prices, with unleaded up 1.1p and diesel up 0.71p

The price of a barrel of oil, the biggest variable affecting UK fuel prices, went up 8%, or $3.45, through September finishing the month at $48.35 a barrel and a little way off the 2016 high price of $50.73 that occurred in early June.

The price rises mean that it now costs on average £61.63 to fill up an average-sized 55-litre petrol family hatchback, which is just over £5 more per fill-up than at the start of the year. To fill an equivalent diesel vehicle costs £62.34, around £4 more than it did in January. For a light commercial diesel vehicle with an 80-litre tank, it now costs £90.67 to fill from empty, up £5.88 since the start of the year.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “While there have been no shocks at the pumps lately, recent reports that OPEC – the organisation responsible for producing 40% of the world’s oil – has agreed there is to be a cut in oil production is having the effect of nudging oil prices up closer to the $50 a barrel mark.

“A higher oil price, combined with a weakening pound, is forcing up wholesale fuel prices: the wholesale price of diesel is now nearly 9p higher than it was at the start of August, and petrol 7.4p higher. The effect of this to date has been gradually rising pump prices.

“While we don’t envisage an immediate hike in prices in October, a lot depends on how markets react to the recent news of the first production cut by OPEC nations since 2008, which marks a major move away from the organisation’s long-term over-supply strategy. The announcement has already caused oil prices to jump a little, but until more specific details are available it is difficult to predict what the longer term outlook on pump prices, and therefore impact on motorists, will be.

“The new chancellor’s first Autumn Statement also looms next month, and the RAC hopes that he sees sense in committing to not increase fuel duty for the remainder of the Parliament – certainly compared to his predecessor’s track record on fuel duty, the new chancellor has a lot to live up to.”

Regional fuel price variation

The South East of England is currently the most expensive place to buy petrol in the UK, with average prices there standing at 112.62p per litre. East Anglia is selling the priciest diesel, at an average of 113.96p per litre. This region also recorded the biggest price rises through September, with petrol up 0.84p per litre and diesel up 0.61p per litre.

Northern Ireland witnessed the most modest increase in diesel prices, up just 0.12p to 112.03p per litre, and was the only part of the UK to see average petrol prices fall – by a marginal 0.02p to 110.76p per litre.

Regional average unleaded pump prices

Petrol – pence per litre 1/9/16 29/9/16 Change
East Anglia 111.67 112.51 0.84
Wales 110.95 111.61 0.66
South East 111.98 112.62 0.64
Scotland 111.11 111.74 0.63
North 110.99 111.48 0.49
West Midlands 111.84 112.30 0.46
East Midlands 111.60 112.01 0.41
South West 111.76 112.04 0.28
Yorkshire And Humber 111.26 111.42 0.16
North West 111.54 111.69 0.15
Northern Ireland 110.78 110.76 -0.02


Regional average diesel pump prices

Diesel – pence per litre 1/9/16 29/9/16 Change
East Anglia 113.35 113.96 +0.61
East Midlands 112.81 113.24 +0.43
North 112.57 112.85 +0.28
North West 112.60 112.94 +0.34
Northern Ireland 111.91 112.03 +0.12
Scotland 112.92 113.40 +0.48
South East 113.30 113.86 +0.56
South West 113.22 113.54 +0.32
Wales 112.57 112.87 +0.30
West Midlands 112.96 113.39 +0.43
Yorkshire And Humber 112.50 112.78 +0.28

Motorists can keep abreast of the latest fuel prices by visiting: rac.co.uk/fuelwatch or following #racfuelwatch on Twitter.

Notes to Editors

* The core data for the September RAC Fuel Watch report is based on an analysis of Experian Catalist average prices from 1 to 29 September 2016.

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About the RAC

With more than eight million members, the RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, insurance, buying a used car, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – the RAC offers a solution for all motoring needs. The RAC is committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.

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For the very latest news on UK fuel prices, check RAC Fuel Watch or follow #racfuelwatch on Twitter. This is a comprehensive guide to the latest UK unleaded petrol and diesel prices – both at the wholesale level and at the pump. RAC Fuel Watch analyses how prices changed through the previous month and compares the most recent prices with those from three, six and 12 months before.

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