Cost of filling a car at lowest level in four years

The average cost of fuelling a car has dropped to the lowest level since May 2016.

Data from RAC Fuel Watch indicates the average price of a litre of petrol fell 4.15p in April, from 113.1p to 108.95p. The result was that the cost of filling a 55-litre fuel tank dropped from £62.21 to £59.92.

That figure dropped to just £56.49 for those refuelling at the cheapest supermarket forecourts.

The RAC says the drop in price has been caused by the coronavirus pandemic, after the price of oil crashed to its lowest level in 21 years last month as demand dwindled. However, while fuel retailers passed on some savings to motorists, they did not cut prices as much as expected because they are getting so few customers.

The organisation suggests that there is scope for a further 12p reduction in the price of a litre of both petrol and diesel.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “The impact of the coronavirus is being felt everywhere – from the steep falls in demand for oil right across the globe, right down to the behaviours of the UK’s millions of drivers who have seen their car use – and their need to fill up – fall away dramatically since the lockdown began.

“While it might seem odd that fuel price falls stalled last month despite wholesale prices coming down yet further, it is explained by the simple fact that UK fuel retailers will have been selling a fraction of what they would normally have sold in the last six weeks.

“We expect that only an easing of lockdown restrictions by the UK Government will trigger forecourts into changing their prices significantly, as this would effectively be a signal to millions that they can start making different types of journeys again by car, not just those currently deemed ‘essential’.