The average price of petrol and diesel at UK forecourts stayed the same throughout March despite a rise in the wholesale cost of both fuels, according to data from the RAC’s latest Fuel Watch report.
A litre of unleaded now costs 120.11p (0.06p increase) and diesel 122.82p (0.01p increase) which means the cost of filling a 55-litre family car remains at £66 (£66.06) for petrol and £67.55 (£67.55) for diesel.
Retailers, who are often criticised for increasing pump prices faster than they bring them down, appeared to have helped motorists as the price of oil went up 5% from $63.98 at the start of March to $67.23 by the end of the month, according to the motoring organisation.
While sterling gained on the dollar very slightly with a pound being worth $1.40 – up from $1.37 at the close of March – the wholesale price of petrol went up nearly 4p a litre and diesel by almost 2.5p a litre.
In spite of that, retailers did not pass on increased costs, perhaps as they had been benefitting from lower wholesale costs for several weeks before, according to the RAC. Whatever the reason, motorists have not had to endure a sudden jump in the price of a litre of fuel.
The average price of petrol at the big four supermarkets was also broadly unchanged with a litre of unleaded being sold for 116p and diesel for 119p.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “It’s good to see fuel prices haven’t gone up as a result of the increased cost of a barrel of oil which gained $4 in the second half of March. Retailers have clearly absorbed some of this cost which is good news for motorists who had seen prices rise for three consecutive months from November to January.
“Looking ahead there is a glimmer of hope that motorists may be about to benefit from some cheaper forecourt prices in April. At a global level there is much going on which may lead to a drop in the oil price: the developing trade friction between the United States and China, increased oil production from fracking in the United States and rising oil supply despite OPEC’s ongoing attempts to curb output. Each of these factors has the potential to cause the oil price to fall which would almost certainly bring pump prices down.”