Petrol prices rise for third consecutive month

Jack Evans, PA Motoring Reporter

The price of petrol rose by 3.5p in January, reaching prices last seen just before the first lockdown was introduced on March 22, 2020.

The increase to 120p a litre marks the third consecutive month of price increases, according to data released by RAC Fuel Watch.

Diesel also rose by more than 3p a litre to 123.43p, marking the second rise in as many months. However, both fuels remained around 7p cheaper than they were a year ago.

Simon Williams, RAC fuel spokesman, said: “Petrol car drivers have sadly seen three months of rising pump prices taking us back to a level last seen at the start of the first lockdown late last March and adding a couple of pounds to the cost of filling up.

“The increase stems from $5 being added to the price of a barrel of oil although this has been cushioned by the pound strengthening a little against the dollar. One thing’s for sure prices are nowhere near the lows we saw in late May when petrol was just under 106p a litre and was diesel 111p.”

At current prices, the cost of filling up an average 55-litre tank of unleaded will cost £66 – close to £2 more than at the start of the year. Doing the same for a diesel-powered car will cost £67.89 – up £1.86 in the same period.

Compared to May 2020, when petrol fell to 105.81p a litre, a fill-up is now £8 more expensive. Diesel is close to £7 pricier, given the increase on May’s price of 111.23p a litre.

RAC Fuel Watch believes that the increase is being led by supermarkets, with retailers such as Asda adding more than 5p a litre to petrol, taking the average price of fuel across its sites to 115.13p, though Sainsburys follows with a similarly-priced litre of unleaded at 115.87p a litre.

Williams added: “These latest fuel prices unfortunately show the power of oil production cuts in getting the barrel price back up from the floor at $13.21, when the impact of international travel restrictions first hit last April, to the $55 mark now.

“Eyes will now be on the Chancellor who will face a difficult decision at his Budget next month as to whether to pile further misery on drivers by raising fuel duty at a time when pump prices are on the rise and many household incomes are being squeezed as a result of the pandemic.”

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