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Fuel £11 more expensive than a year ago, but prices stabilise in February

Fuel £11 more expensive than a year ago, but prices stabilise in February

The price of petrol and diesel has stabilised after two months of rises at the pumps, according to RAC Fuel Watch data.

Unleaded petrol finished the month costing an average 120.23p a litre, a very slight increase on the figure of 120.05p seen on February 1, and diesel at 122.25p, having started at 122.31p. However, fuel is still at its highest price since December 2014.  

The stability has been brought about by the fact the two key price-determining factors - the price of oil and the sterling/dollar exchange rate - have both steadied, keeping wholesale prices in check, said RAC. A barrel of oil averaged $55 throughout the month and the pound was worth on average $1.25.  

However, it now costs £66.13 to fill up an average 55-litre family car with petrol compared to £55.91 a year ago when the average price nationally was 101.65p. A tank of diesel is now £67.27 compared to £55.72 12 months ago when a litre averaged 101.31p.    

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “While the price of oil has shot up by $10 since the end of November when many oil producing countries agreed to curb production it appears to have settled around the $55 mark which will be a relief to motorists who no doubt felt forecourt prices were constantly heading in the wrong direction. Filling up an average car is sadly now £11 more expensive than a year ago.”

However, the oil production cut, which is the first in eight years, is even more significant because it was brought about by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) making an agreement with 11 other oil producing countries to limit production by a total of 1.8 million barrels a day globally with a view to getting the barrel price to increase.  

Mr Williams added: “The agreement between OPEC and non-member countries seems to be holding firm for the time being which is not good news for motorists. For prices at the pumps to come down again we would need the oil price to reduce and the pound to make up some of its lost ground on the dollar.

“So a month where fuel prices have stayed broadly the same is welcome news. Given the global oil production situation and the weaker pound all we can really hope for at the moment is some continued price stability on the forecourt.”