Fuel prices unchanged despite sharp increase in price of oil

Fuel prices have remained about the same in November despite the cost of a barrel of oil increasing sharply by $10 (£7.44).

That’s an increase of 27 per cent in the month, taking the total cost of a barrel to $46 (£34.20).

At the end of November, the average cost of a litre of unleaded was 114.33p, down 0.19p from 114.52p at the start of the month.

Diesel saw a similar decrease of 0.22p, going from 117.85p to 117.63p.

Irish Budget
Irish Budget

That means the average cost of refuelling a 55-litre car would be £62.77 for petrol and £64.70 for diesel, with refuelling at supermarkets saving about £3.

The lowest prices were found at ‘the big four’ supermarkets, where the average cost of petrol was 109.20p, down 0.39p, while diesel was down 1.06p to 112.66p.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Normally, a sudden surge in the price of oil would have spelled bad news for drivers, but they were spared a pump price hike due to the fact retailers had been sitting on accumulated wholesale petrol price savings of around 5p a litre for a number of weeks.

“This saving has now been all but taken up by the unleaded wholesale price jumping by more than 3p a litre in November.

“The situation for diesel drivers is even worse as pump prices were around 7p a litre more expensive than they should have been, meaning retailers should have passed on some of this to drivers with a sizable cut.

“Instead they decided to make bigger margins, presumably to make up for lost revenue due to the reduction in driving caused by the pandemic. With the diesel wholesale price increasing by nearly 4.5p in November retailers are even less likely to pass on the extra 3p of margin they’re still benefiting from.”

The RAC says the jump in the price of oil was caused by news of several viable coronavirus vaccines, which signal an imminent return to normal life.