Drivers still paying more for fuel

Petrol pumpPetrol prices have dipped of late but drivers have still paid more to fill up during this year than last, AA figures have shown.

Based on the whole of this year, prices for petrol averaged 136.40p a litre and for diesel averaged 142.48p.

This compares with last year's petrol average of 133.65p a litre and diesel average of 138.94p.

On average, UK drivers paid almost £1.50 more to fill a tank at every garage visit this year than last year, with diesel tank-filling up £1.75, the AA said.

The mid-December average fuel price was 132.32p a litre, almost exactly the price charged at the beginning of the year and 2.76p cheaper than the mid-November average. Diesel, 140.56p a litre at the start of the year, averaged 140.38p in mid-December compared with 141.89p in mid-November.

The cheapest petrol at the moment is in Yorkshire & Humberside where it averages 131.7p a litre. The dearest is in Northern Ireland at 133.1p. Northern Ireland also has the most expensive diesel at 141.3p a litre on average. As with petrol, the cheapest is in Yorkshire & Humberside at 139.7p.

Indicating just how much motorists are now having to fork out, the average price of a litre of petrol throughout 2009 was 100.02p and diesel was 104.38p, although drivers complained at the time of fuel exceeding the £1-a-litre mark.

The AA highlighted a recent EU consumer survey in which only people in Italy gave petrol retailers a poorer score than those in the UK.

AA president Edmund King said: "The fact that petrol prices are back to where they were at the beginning of the year may bring some seasonal festive cheer, but over the last year petrol prices have been 2.75p more expensive than the previous year.

"Supermarkets generally dictate the cost of fuel in towns, with other retailers setting theirs accordingly and creating a localised price jam. Petrol in towns with less competitive supermarkets is as much as 5p more expensive than neighbouring communities. It is these £1.50, £2 or £2.50-a-tank surcharges for petrol across whole towns that have triggered such fierce criticism of the UK's fuel retailers in the EU survey."
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