Fuel prices hit new highs but oil slide could provide relief

Fuel prices have hit a new record high according to latest industry data though sliding oil prices could offer relief ahead for hard-pressed motorists.

Figures from data firm Experian Catalist show the average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on Sunday was 163.5p, while diesel was 173.4p.

Pump prices have been soaring over recent months amid a global oil price surge that was kicked off by the recovery in global demand after pandemic restrictions ended and exacerbated as Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine exploded into war.

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Ukraine war affects cost of living

The headline figure is an average meaning that prices will be higher or lower at different forecourts across the country.


RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said the average price of petrol “appears to be on a collision course with £1.65 a litre”.

He added: “While there will almost certainly be more rises this week, drivers should soon get some respite from pump prices jumping by several pence a litre every day as oil and wholesale prices appear to have settled.

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“The price hikes seen over the weekend are still a result of the oil price rise which began at the start of the month and peaked early last week.

“As the oil price has now fallen back, we should hopefully reach the peak and start to see prices going the other way to reflect the big drop in wholesale costs seen at the end of last week, subject to no further spikes in the barrel price this week.”

Higher fuel costs add to the pressures facing UK households, with sky-high wholesale gas prices – also pushed higher following the invasion – resulting in a squeeze on consumers too.

Image: Brent crude has come down from its most recent peak

Oil benchmark Brent crude has risen to more than $100 a barrel since the invasion of Ukraine and last week surged to $139, a 14-year high, as details of US and UK plans to cut off supplies from Russia emerged.

However, hopes that other oil-producing nations will step in to make up the shortfall, as well as talks to end the war, have seen the pressure ease a little.

New COVID-19 lockdowns in China – threatening to dampen demand from the world’s second biggest economy – also weighed on the price on Monday, with Brent crude dipping $6 to less than $107.