Wholesale prices of fuel are ‘plummeting’ – so why are prices hitting new records?

Fuel prices have hit new records as retailers were criticised for failing to reflect “plummeting” wholesale costs.

The average price of petrol was 167p a litre on Sunday, compared with 166p on Friday, according to figures from data firm Experian Catalist.

Diesel now averages 179p a litre, up from 177p.

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Oil prices ‘immensely volatile’ for months to come

The cost of a litre of petrol has increased by 16p in the past month, making the cost of filling a typical 55-litre family car nearly £9 more expensive.

The average cost of diesel has gone up by more than 24p during the same period.


Fuel retailers slammed for price increases

Oil prices surged after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – but started “plummeting” on 9 March, according to the Automobile Association.

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The cost of oil was 110 US dollars a barrel at the end of last week, with wholesale petrol down 12p a litre from its peak of 78p to 66p on 8 March.

Oil prices started rising again last Thursday but are still lower than they were more than 10 days ago.

Luke Bosdet, the Automobile Association’s spokesman, said: “Wholesale petrol and diesel costs started to fall away dramatically on 9 March, yet more than 10 days later prices at the pumps continue to set new records.”

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War to push up cost of living in UK

“Pre-pandemic, the retailers would sit on lower-cost savings and wait for either Asda or Morrison to announce price cuts, and then start to bring their prices down,” he added.

“Now that that competitive thrust has largely gone, drivers and businesses in desperate need of the financial relief from lower pump prices must struggle on.”

FairFuelUK condemned fuel retailers for failing to cut prices at the pump.

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Ukraine war affects cost of living

“By taking advantage of Putin’s invasion, those faceless fuel supply chain businesses are keeping pump prices at their record highs, despite the crash in oil prices,” a spokesperson said. “How can that be honest or fair?”

Chancellor urged to cut fuel duty

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said drivers “badly need a break from these relentless daily rises”.

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Why Russian invasion will make your bread more expensive

“The window for pump prices to come down appears to be have been well and truly closed, with both oil prices and therefore wholesale fuel costs once again rising after last week’s big drop, putting yet more pressure on households and businesses,” he said.

He urged the chancellor to take action in his spring statement on Wednesday – and said suggestions that he could cut fuel duty by 5p per litre were welcomed but “may not be deep enough to make a real difference”.

The Petrol Retailers Association joined calls for a cut in fuel duty and VAT, having written to the chancellor three times about the issue.

Read more: How the war in Ukraine is eroding living standards in the UK

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How Ukraine invasion will affect UK

Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, urged the government to follow the example of countries like Ireland, where fuel duty has been cut by 17p for petrol and 13p for diesel.

“We’ve seen governments trying to alleviate this situation and we’re urging the chancellor to do all he can,” he told Sky News.

Fuel duty is currently levied at a flat rate of 57.95p per litre for both petrol and diesel, while VAT at 20% is then charged on both the product price and the duty.

Watch and follow the chancellor’s spring statement on Wednesday from 12.30pm on Sky News.