UK fuel prices: petrol and diesel drop to lowest level since May as wholesale cost fall

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Petrol and diesel costs drop to four-month low but supermarkets accused of extending profits instead of passing on savings

Fuel prices around the UK have fallen to their lowest in four months, according to government figures.

Data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy shows that a litre of petrol cost an average of 165.5p on Monday 19 September, while diesel was 181.1p per litre.

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The latest drops coincide with a fall in wholesale prices and represent the lowest forecourt prices since 16 May. Petrol and diesel prices peaked on 4 July, when petrol was 191.6p per litre and diesel was 199.2p per litre.

Since then, petrol has dropped 26.1p per litre and diesel 17.3p. The cost of filling an average family car is now £14 less than it was in July and a diesel fill-up is around £10 cheaper. However, the RAC has said that drivers are still not seeing the full benefit of wholesale cost reductions.

The cost of filling up rocketed to an all-time high in the first half of 2022The cost of filling up rocketed to an all-time high in the first half of 2022
The cost of filling up rocketed to an all-time high in the first half of 2022 | AFP via Getty Images

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “While this is clearly good news, prices should have fallen much further than they have due to the big reduction in the cost of wholesale fuel this summer.

“The main reason this hasn’t happened is that the big four supermarkets, which dominate UK fuel sales, have refused to pass on savings they are benefitting from. This means average margins are now 19p a litre – 12p more than the long-term average. Petrol should really be on sale for 153p a litre and diesel 175p.”

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Petrol prices in particular have tumbled in recent weeks as retailers began to pass some of the wholesale reductions on to motorists. In August they dropped by a record-breaking 12p per litre.

AA fuel price spokesman Luke Bosdet said: “Although the fall in pump prices has slowed in recent weeks, they continue to trickle down steadily.

“This was to be expected as the end of the US summer motoring season eases the pressure on gasoline demand and therefore reduces the wholesale price of petrol in this country.

“At UK street level, petrol prices around 155p a litre are beginning to appear again.”

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Fuel prices rose almost constantly from the start of 2022 until early July, with many retailers putting prices up on a daily basis and some reports of filling stations upping prices two or three times per day.

Despite the fall in prices, a new survey by online marketplace Auto Trader suggets that 50% of UK drivers are cutting back their car usage to save money.

The poll of 2,807 people found that motorists in north-east England were most likely to be reducing their mileage, at 56%, and a total of 68% of respondents from across the UK said they planned to sacrifice eating out in favour of filling up their vehicle.

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