Since the chaotic fuel crisis in September, the UK has struggled with higher-than-normal fuel prices. The RAC have said that filling the tank of a standard family car is costing drivers around £3.50 extra compared to November 2021.
This is pretty expensive considering that in November, global oil prices dropped below US$70 per barrel. Oil prices were at $86 in late October, but have since fallen to their lowest level since September. On the face of it, that sounds like good news for drivers. Sadly, however, this hasn’t seemed to translate to lower prices at the pump.
Why are fuel prices still so high?
Apparently, it’s normal to have bit of a gap between falling oil prices and seeing lower fuel costs when filling up. However, there’s more to it than that. Supermarkets have actually increased the price of petrol and diesel despite paying lower wholesale costs, and have made a shocking profit because of it. In November 2021, the average price of a litre of unleaded jumped up by 3.1p, while the price of diesel rose by 2.7p.
Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons are among some of the sellers who have all been called out for raising prices ‘unnecessarily’. Spokesperson for the RAC Simon Williams even went as far as to say that ‘drivers are being ripped off’ by supermarkets selling fuel, with drivers losing out on around £5.5 million a day due to the inflated costs.
As a result, the RAC has called for fuel retailers to lower the price of petrol by 12p a litre, which would save drivers around £6.60 for filling up a 55-litre tank and save £3.85 for diesel tanks. They also stated that if prices weren’t brought down, ‘motorists on the tightest incomes may be forced to take their cars off the road,’ showing just how serious the issue is.
Will the price of petrol and diesel drop?
The good news is: yes. The price of fuel is slowly coming down, reducing by nearly half a penny in the first week of December. However, the AA says ‘the costs should have been passed on to consumers sooner.’ Fuel prices are expected to fall further toward the end of the year, especially considering the emergence of the new Omicron variant and Plan B rules which were introduced on 8th December. More people working from home means fewer people on the road, so fuel prices will hopefully fall further. This, as well as the huge drop in wholesale oil prices, means drivers can hopefully look forward to paying a lot less at the pump very soon.
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