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Pump prices rise 3p to increase fleet costs and further increases in the pipeline

Pump prices rise 3p to increase fleet costs and further increases in the pipeline

Fleet fuel budgets are under pressure after the biggest increase in petrol and diesel prices for 16 months.

Data from RAC Fuel Watch shows the average price of a litre of unleaded went up 2.74p from 120.46p to 123.20 during April, while the price of a litre of diesel rose 2.94p from 123.08p to 126.02p.

Not since December 2016 have average fuel prices risen so sharply. The increase then was 3p a litre for both fuels, with petrol rising to 117.23p a litre and diesel to 119.63p. The last time the average price of unleaded was as expensive at it is now was in mid-November 2014. Diesel last exceeded 126p a litre on 1 December 2014.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “A 12% surge in the price of oil from $67 a barrel to $75 has cost motorists dear in April. A 3p a litre rise at the pumps is fortunately fairly unusual, but it’s definitely bad news as it means drivers are now paying 8p more a litre than they did last summer.

“The cost of filling up an average family-sized 55-litre car with petrol is now nearly £68 (£67.76) which is £4.50 more expensive than it was last July. For diesel car drivers it’s even worse with a tank costing over £69 (£69.31), which is £5.50 more.

“The dramatic rise in the oil price and its knock-on effect on the cost of fuel is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the four big supermarkets, which sell the largest volumes and therefore buy fuel in more quickly than other retailers, have raised their prices even more steeply. A litre of supermarket petrol went up 3.2p to 120.17p, and diesel by 3.3p to 123p, signifying they are quickly passing on increased wholesale costs to motorists.

“Unfortunately, the price of oil gained $8 in April driven by a combination of international issues, all of which could negatively affect global supply. The biggest of these is the fear that the United States could re-impose crippling economic sanctions on Iran - the third largest oil producer in OPEC - over its controversial nuclear energy programme which it has been limiting as agreed with six world powers, including the United States and the UK.

“The outlook for fuel prices is not good at the moment as the oil price is well over $70 a barrel, and if the United States does try to re-impose sanctions on Iran and supply drops, motorists will end up paying far more at the pumps. Our current two-week prediction is for prices to go up by 1p or so, but this could quickly get worse if oil gets more expensive and the pound weakens any further.”