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Petrol price falls in October but price rises look imminent

Press Release   •   Nov 03, 2017 00:01 GMT

The cost of petrol fell in October ending three consecutive months of increases, but the good news is likely to end there as price rises are looming large due to the oil price going above $60 a barrel for the first time in more than two years (2 July 2015).

RAC Fuel Watch data for October shows a litre of unleaded went down from 118.84p at the beginning of the month to 118.17p by the close – a fall of 0.67p. Diesel, however, rose for the fourth month in a row, going up 0.59p from 120.21p to 120.80p a litre.

A barrel of oil saw a 9% increase finishing the month $5 higher at $60.98. Even though sterling remained comparatively strong against the dollar averaging $1.32 in October it is unlikely to be enough to prevent some pump price rises due to the rising cost of oil.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “At the start of October there was a 6p saving in the wholesale price of unleaded which retailers eventually passed on to motorists in pump price reductions. This month, however, the situation is reversed and the petrol wholesale price has gone up by 4p.

“Inevitably, this increase will be passed on to motorists on the forecourt far more quickly than the cuts were made last month, but that is unfortunately the nature of ‘big’ fuel retailing: pass on wholesale rises quickly and cling on to savings for as long as possible.

“Motorists may yet be spared from large pump prices if the United States takes advantage of the higher oil price to bring more fracking rigs online as this will bring more product on to the market, no doubt easing the barrel price.

“The US is already exporting two million barrels a day when not so long ago it was a nett importer of oil. OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is unlikely to welcome this as it is doing its best to limit supply to make the oil price go up. Unfortunately for motorists, a return to the OPEC oversupply strategy that caused the low pump prices of early 2016 doesn’t seem likely.

“Eyes will also switch to the Chancellor who delivers his Budget this month, and with higher wholesale costs filtering down to the forecourts, the last thing they’ll want to see is an increase in fuel duty. We urge the Chancellor to resist this and leave the rate unchanged.”

The average price of a litre of unleaded at the UK’s four biggest supermarkets is 114.81p – 1p less than it was at the start of October, while diesel is nearly a penny more expensive, going up from 116.82p to 117.72p.

Filling up a 55-litre family car with petrol at the national average price of 118.17p now costs £64.99. The diesel equivalent is £66.44.

Regional fuel price variation

Wales saw the largest drop in the price of unleaded in October with a litre coming down by a penny to 117.62p. Northern Ireland saw the smallest increase, at the same time keeping its title as the cheapest place to buy petrol with a litre costing only 117.41p on average. The South East was once again the most expensive at 118.65p a litre at the end of October.

For diesel Scotland suffered the greatest increase at 1.03p taking an average litre to 121.27p. It was only slightly cheaper than the South East which had the dearest diesel at 121.39p. Northern Ireland had the cheapest at 119.62p.

Regional average unleaded pump prices

Unleaded 02/10/2017 31/10/2017 Change
Wales 118.61 117.62 -0.99
North East 118.46 117.48 -0.98
South East 119.48 118.65 -0.83
West Midlands 118.84 118.01 -0.83
South West 119.02 118.28 -0.74
Yorkshire And The Humber 118.57 117.83 -0.74
East Midlands 118.80 118.10 -0.70
East 119.00 118.37 -0.63
North West 118.63 118.13 -0.50
Scotland 118.50 118.06 -0.44
London 118.85 118.48 -0.37
Northern Ireland 117.53 117.41 -0.12
Regional average diesel pump prices
Diesel 02/10/2017 31/10/2017 Change
Scotland 120.24 121.27 1.03
London 120.37 121.23 0.86
East Midlands 120.03 120.74 0.71
South East 120.72 121.39 0.67
Yorkshire And The Humber 119.73 120.39 0.66
East 120.53 121.08 0.55
South West 120.39 120.89 0.50
North East 119.80 120.24 0.44
Wales 120.04 120.47 0.43
Northern Ireland 119.22 119.62 0.40
North West 120.19 120.56 0.37
West Midlands 120.08 120.42 0.34

Notes to Editors

* Average fuel prices quoted in theRAC Fuel Watch October report are based on Experian Catalist data from 2 to 31 October 2017. Wholesale prices were analysed over the same period.

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