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Average petrol and diesel prices stay the same in March

Press Release   •   Apr 06, 2018 00:00 BST

The average price of petrol and diesel at UK forecourts stayed the same throughout March despite a rise in the wholesale cost of both fuels, data from the RAC’s Fuel Watch report reveals.

A litre of unleaded now costs 120.11p (0.06p increase) and diesel 122.82p (0.01p increase) which means the cost of filling a 55-litre family car remains at £66 (£66.06) for petrol and £67.55 (£67.55) for diesel.

Retailers, who are often criticised for increasing pump prices faster than they bring them down, appear to have helped motorists as the price of oil went up 5% from $63.98 at the start of March to $67.23 by the end of the month. While sterling gained on the dollar very slightly with a pound being worth $1.40 – up from $1.37 at the close of March – the wholesale price of petrol went up nearly 4p a litre and diesel by almost 2.5p a litre.

In spite of this retailers did not pass on increased costs, perhaps as they had been benefitting from lower wholesale costs for several weeks before. Whatever the reason, motorists have not had to endure a sudden jump in the price of a litre of fuel.

The average price of petrol at the big four supermarkets was also broadly unchanged with a litre of unleaded being sold for 116p and diesel for 119p.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “It’s good to see fuel prices haven’t gone up as a result of the increased cost of a barrel of oil which gained $4 in the second half of March. Retailers have clearly absorbed some of this cost which is good news for motorists who had seen prices rise for three consecutive months from November to January.

“Looking ahead there is a glimmer of hope that motorists may be about to benefit from some cheaper forecourt prices in April. At a global level there is much going on which may lead to a drop in the oil price: the developing trade friction between the US and China, increased oil production from fracking in the US and rising oil supply despite OPEC’s ongoing attempts to curb output. Each of these factors has the potential to cause the oil price to fall which would almost certainly bring pump prices down.”

Regional fuel price variation

The West Midlands saw the biggest increase in the price of unleaded with half a pence being added to the price at its forecourts – 119.89p. Motorists in the East saw their average petrol prices reduce the most, albeit only by a third of a pence – 120.63p. The South East had the most expensive petrol at both the beginning and end of the month at 121p a litre.

Despite diesel going up the most in Northern Ireland (0.34p) motorists there are still paying the lowest prices for the fuel, a penny below the UK average at 121.71p a litre. The South East once again had the most expensive diesel at 123.63p a litre.

Regional average unleaded pump prices

Unleaded 01/03/2018 28/03/2018 Change
UK average 120.05 120.11 0.06
West Midlands 119.35 119.89 0.54
South West 119.87 120.37 0.50
Wales 119.31 119.74 0.43
Northern Ireland 119.37 119.71 0.34
North East 119.05 119.35 0.30
Yorkshire And The Humber 118.96 119.22 0.26
London 120.48 120.66 0.18
East Midlands 119.93 120.08 0.15
South East 121.10 121.00 -0.10
North West 119.68 119.56 -0.12
Scotland 119.59 119.46 -0.13
East 120.95 120.63 -0.32
Regional average diesel pump prices
Diesel 01/03/2018 28/03/2018 Change
UK average 122.83 122.82 -0.01
Northern Ireland 121.37 121.71 0.34
Scotland 122.60 122.88 0.28
North East 122.05 122.21 0.16
West Midlands 122.13 122.26 0.13
Wales 122.47 122.58 0.11
South West 123.11 123.18 0.07
East Midlands 122.76 122.81 0.05
Yorkshire And The Humber 122.04 122.03 -0.01
North West 122.42 122.40 -0.02
South East 123.72 123.63 -0.09
London 123.21 123.07 -0.14
East 123.69 123.50 -0.19

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

Ends

Notes to Editors

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First formed in 1897 the RAC has been looking after the needs of its members and championing the interests of motorists for more than 120 years.

Today it has more than eight million members and is one of the UK’s most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistanceinsurancebuying a used carvehicle inspections and checkslegal 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. RAC Fuel Watch 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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