Motorists hit by fuel price rises

Three consecutive months of fuel price reductions came to an end in February as retailers “instantly” passed on wholesale price rises, new analysis shows.

The average price of a litre of unleaded rose by nearly a penny to £1.20, while diesel was up by just over a penny to £1.29, according to RAC Fuel Watch.

Motorists had enjoyed a decrease in fuel costs during the previous three months, when petrol dropped by 11p per litre and diesel fell by 8p per litre.

The February price rise means filling up an average 55-litre family car with petrol now costs £66.23, while drivers of diesel models are set back £71.43.

The increase was sparked by a 5% jump in the price of oil amid a cut in production by producing group Opec in partnership with Russia.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Drivers will be disappointed to see prices at the pumps going up again after enjoying three months of reductions.

“What they probably aren’t aware of is that retailers, who held off cuts for weeks when they were warranted, instantly raised their prices when they saw the wholesale price go up very slightly.

“This is unfortunately clear proof of the infamous ‘rocket and feather’ pricing strategy where prices go up like a rocket and fall like a feather.

“Currently, retailers should actually be reducing their unleaded prices a little, but it remains to be seen whether they will pass on the savings to drivers on the forecourt.

“Based on their current track record, you would have to say this seems unlikely.”