Fuel prices accelerated for the fifth consecutive year in March, the latest data shows.
The average price for gasoline rose 2.7 pence per liter last month, increasing unleaded to an average of 126.28 pence.
Diesel prices rose steadily in March to 2.4 pence per liter and averaged 129.07 pence per liter.
Simon Williams, the RAC’s fuel spokesman, said the recent pump hikes were “relentless” and frustratingly at a time when drivers are “now starting to use their vehicles more with the easing of the national lockdown.”
“Relentless” increase on the pumps: fuel prices have risen for the fifth time in a row, and the price of gasoline rose in March by 2.7 liters per liter to an average of 126.3 percentage points
The analysis is coming, as official figures show, the enormous impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the demand for fuel. Gasoline and diesel consumption fell by 8.7 billion liters in 2020 – this is the equivalent of no vehicle visiting a gas station for almost 10 weeks.
For drivers who barely used their cars in 2021 due to the existing Covid lock, refueling for the first time in months will likely be far more expensive than they last remembered.
At the beginning of November the average gasoline price was 114 pp per liter.
The recent surge has resulted in an additional 12.2 pence per liter of unleaded lead-free for the next five months.
The analysis also shows that a liter of diesel is around 11.4 pence more expensive than it was on November 1st.
The RAC says the continued surge in pumps brought fuel prices back to February 2020 levels, before the pandemic hit the UK and before the oil market collapsed.
By combining the two factors in 2020, the UK’s first retailer was selling gasoline for less than £ 1 a liter on March 28th – a Murco station in Birmingham – and supermarkets followed within weeks.
It was the first time since early 2016 that lead-free was sold for less than £ 1 a liter.
It was only a year ago that gasoline was sold for less than £ 1 a liter due to falling demand and a drop in oil prices
The increase in March means that filling a 55 liter gasoline is now £ 6.68 more than in November (£ 69.45 total) and filling a diesel car of the same size (£ 70.99) is £ 6.29 more .
|Yorkshire and the Humber||123.2||125.4||2.2|
|Source: RAC Fuel Watch|
While the price of oil stood at $ 63.67 at the end of March – after rebounding in recent months after hitting an all-time low of just $ 13.21 last April – the ongoing impact of the pandemic on demand especially if the worldwide trips are well below normal, to prevent this it will not go much higher for the time being.
The RAC says drivers looking for the best value on the pumps should continue to drive to supermarkets, with a liter of unleaded gas currently costing an average of 121.9 pence and diesel 124.86 pence.
Asda leads the way with petrol at just 120.99 p per liter and diesel at 123.99 p – around 6 p cheaper than the national average.
However, the RAC notes that all major retailers raised their prices in March, in line with the rest of the industry, averaging 2.61p for gasoline and 2.59p for diesel.
With that in mind, the auto organization says drivers should expect pump prices to drop in the coming weeks as retailers reflect wholesale prices on their forecourt.
However, there is concern that after a year of reduced fuel demand, retailers will try to make money as traffic increases.
The RAC said another month of adding fuel to the pumps was “very frustrating” for drivers getting back on the road now as ministers relax lockdown measures
Commenting on the March fuel price hike, Williams commented: “The pump price hike seems a bit relentless at the moment, as March marks the fifth straight month that prices have risen.
|Yorkshire and the Humber||126.18||128.47||2.29|
|Source: RAC Fuel Watch|
‘This is very frustrating for drivers who are now starting to use their vehicles more with the relaxation of the national lockdown.
‘They are unfortunately suffering the impact of the February wholesaling fuel price hike which caused retailers to raise their forecourt prices almost daily over the past month.
‘The situation is not as bad as it could be, as the combination of a relatively strong pound and an oil price driven by lower global demand as a result of the pandemic mean that average wholesale prices are still lower than usual. ‘
After Williams cracked the numbers, diesel looks “particularly overpriced right now” with the wholesale price of the fuel currently below the gasoline equivalent.
He cautioned, however, that motorists shouldn’t go too far if they think a price cut is imminent, as it “seldom translates into lower prices as retailers use the savings to subsidize gasoline prices”.
He added, “The weeks and months ahead will be crucial in figuring out where prices could go later in 2021.
‘As long as Covid’s worldwide travel restrictions are in place, it’s hard to see oil prices soar – and that should protect wholesalers and in turn protect pump prices from spiking too fast.
“However, it is also important what the major oil-producing countries do with regard to oil production. Any further reduction in supply could push the barrel price back above the $ 70 mark – leading to another spike in pump price here in the UK. ‘
Fuel consumption decreased by 8.7 billion liters in 2020 due to the pandemic and lockdown
The equivalent drop in gasoline and diesel demand over the past year as a result of the pandemic roughly equates to almost 10 weeks of no road vehicles refueling, experts say
The coronavirus lockdown and road traffic restrictions in 2020 slumped UK gasoline and diesel sales by 8.7 billion liters. This was the result of the latest update by the HMRC on fuel tax.
An AA analysis shows that the crash corresponded in demand to road vehicles that did not visit gas stations for almost 10 weeks.
The Treasury Department’s total fuel tariff revenues, including gasoline, diesel and other fuels, fell from £ 27.796 billion in 2019 to £ 22.621 billion in 2020, it confirmed.
In recent months, statistics from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have shown that supermarkets are performing worse due to lower fuel consumption on the street. This despite the fact that they are one of the few large retail groups allowed to trade during the pandemic.
“Compared to 2019, more than two months of fuel consumption on the road have disappeared last year,” said Luke Bosdet, the AA’s spokesman for fuel prices.
‘Gasoline sales fell by 3.75 billion liters and diesel sales by 4.96 billion liters.
“With weekly fuel consumption averaging 324 million liters for gasoline and 577.6 million liters for diesel in 2019, the impact last year was the same as the loss of 11.6 weeks of gas consumption and 8.6 weeks of diesel consumption.”
Overall, the demand for gasoline and diesel in Great Britain fell last year to 38.174 billion liters after 46.885 billion in the previous year.
During last year’s pandemic, car trips dropped to 22 percent of pre-Covid levels on April 12.
“The only real surprise was that supermarkets are suffering more than the fuel trade in general,” added Bosdet.
‘While gasoline sales fell by a total of 20.9 percent, the volume of supermarkets fell by 22.3 percent. Diesel sales also fell by 21.6 percent, compared to 15.9 percent in general.
“The boom in grocery deliveries, which has resulted in fewer store visits, may have contributed to a larger drop in fuel sales.”
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