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Drivers see some respite from rising fuel prices in June – but July remains uncertain

Press Release   •   Jul 04, 2018 00:01 BST

After suffering the worst monthly petrol price rise in 18 years in May, June provided motorists with a little welcome relief at the pumps with the average price of unleaded falling by nearly 2p a litre.

RAC Fuel Watch data shows that petrol fell from 129.37p a litre across the UK to 127.59p after the supermarkets cut their prices in response to lower wholesale costs. Diesel also reduced but only by 1.5p a litre from 132.32p to 130.74p. As a result, it now costs £70.17 to fully top up an average 55-litre family car with petrol (nearly £1 (98p) a tank less than it did a month ago) and £71.91 for a similar car that runs on diesel (86p a tank less than a month ago).

The greatest price reductions were seen across UK supermarkets, where an average of 2.4p came off the price of a litre of unleaded, and 2p off a litre of diesel. Drivers filling up at motorway services meanwhile saw no reduction at all in prices during June – with a litre of petrol remaining at 145p and diesel at 148p per litre.

The fall in the price of petrol and diesel occurred early on in June, with some of the largest fuel retailers responding to calls by the RAC to cut their prices in the wake of falling wholesale prices. Unfortunately however, wholesale prices started to creep up again at the very end of the month – snuffing out the possibility of petrol and diesel prices becoming any cheaper through the start of July.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “The big fuel retailers finally bowed to pressure in early June by cutting the price of both petrol and diesel at the pumps – offering some respite to drivers who just a month earlier had experienced the largest jump in average forecourt prices since the RAC began tracking prices.

“But while the price of oil slid back to around $72 a barrel in the middle of month, since this point it has been rising again – ending June nearer $76 a barrel and with wholesale fuel prices now also starting to rise again.

“So we remain in a period of real volatility when it comes to fuel prices. Late in June the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which represents some of the world’s largest oil producing nations, agreed to increase global oil production. While this would normally signal cheaper oil, and in turn cheaper fuel prices, other factors have been at play – namely an escalating trade dispute between the United States and other major countries and the prospect of renewed sanctions placed on another oil-producing nation, Iran.

“At the same time, the pound remains comparatively weak against the US dollar, which reduces the buying power of UK fuel retailers. With fuel costing them more to buy in, this invariably means higher prices are passed on to drivers at the pumps. As a result, motorists sadly shouldn’t hold out much hope for cheaper fuel in time for the start of the school summer holidays.

“It has been reported that the Government is considering ending the fuel duty freeze. Aside from the fact that petrol and diesel in the UK are subject to some of the highest levels of taxation anywhere in Europe, it is also the case that the fuels are at their highest prices for more than three years. With a significantly weaker pound, it would only take a few further oil prices rises this year to see prices start to rocket.”


Regional fuel price variation

Regional average unleaded pump prices**

While London saw the largest drop in average petrol prices in June, it remains one of the most expensive places to fill up – second only to the South East of England. The North East is the cheapest place to buy the fuel. It is a similar picture when it comes to diesel: London saw the largest fall in average diesel prices but it stills costs more to fill up there than in most other parts of the UK, with Northern Ireland currently the cheapest.

Unleaded 03/06/2018 28/06/2018 Change
UK average 129.37 127.59 -1.78
London 130.09 128.17 -1.92
North West 128.94 127.08 -1.86
South East 130.19 128.36 -1.83
Scotland 128.78 126.99 -1.79
East 129.71 127.98 -1.73
West Midlands 129.06 127.34 -1.72
East Midlands 129.33 127.62 -1.71
South West 129.54 127.83 -1.71
North East 128.58 126.88 -1.70
Wales 128.84 127.19 -1.65
Yorkshire And The Humber 128.48 126.97 -1.51
Northern Ireland 128.49 127.09 -1.40

Regional average diesel pump prices**

Diesel 03/06/2018 28/06/2018 Change
UK average 132.32 130.74 -1.58
London 133.01 131.18 -1.83
Wales 132.29 130.54 -1.75
South West 132.63 130.91 -1.72
East 132.80 131.12 -1.68
Scotland 132.21 130.60 -1.61
South East 133.07 131.50 -1.57
East Midlands 132.26 130.73 -1.53
West Midlands 131.77 130.28 -1.49
Yorkshire And The Humber 131.43 130.01 -1.42
Northern Ireland 131.08 129.70 -1.38
North West 132.00 130.63 -1.37
North East 131.65 130.35 -1.30

Notes to Editors

* UK average fuel prices quoted in theRAC Fuel Watch May 2018 report are based on Experian Catalist data from 3 to 29 June 2018 (pump prices). RAC Fuel Watch began tracking prices from January 2000.

** Regional fuel price data was analysed from 3 to 28 June 2018.

For all media enquiries, please contact the RAC press office team on +44 (0)1454 664 123. The line is manned by an on-call press officer outside office hours. ISDN radio studio facilities are available for interviews Monday to Friday.

About the RAC

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.

The RAC is the motorist’s champion and campaigns to support the interests of its members and UK motorists at a national level. This includes voicing concerns about the increasing cost of motoring, particularly the price of fuel and the high level of tax levied on it, advancing levels of road safety, and supporting the needs of all drivers, from young to old.

The RAC’s annual Report on Motoring – first published in 1989 – is one of a kind and provides a clear insight into the concerns and issues facing today’s motorists.

For the very latest news on UK fuel prices, check RAC Fuel Watch. It provides a comprehensive guide to the latest UK unleaded petrol and diesel prices – both at the wholesale level and at the pump - and tracks these prices daily to help drivers check if the price they pay to fill up is a fair one.

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