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UK fuel prices: how much are petrol and diesel today, why have costs risen, will they come down?

Why petrol and diesel are at record highs and what impact Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is having on UK forecourts

Fuel prices continue to reach ever higher new levels, with petrol exceeding £1.85 per litre for the first time in the past week.

The latest figures show petrol has risen almost 4p per litre between 12 and 20 June while diesel has jumped more than 6p. That follows a 21p per litre increase between mid-May and mid-June.

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It now costs more £104 to fill up the tank of a typical family car with petrol, while a diesel fill-up now costs almost £108.

The RAC said the latest rises and continuing volatility in the market were cause for the Government to intervene and cut fuel duty for the second time in four months.

Petrol prices have risen above £1.80 per litre on average this week, according to experts, as fuel prices continue to soar. (Getty Images)

It said that while wholesale costs hinted at hope for petrol to stabilise, drivers of diesel vehicles faced the imminent prospect of an average £2 per litre at the pumps.

How much are petrol and diesel prices today?

Fuel prices fluctuate on a daily basis and vary significantly across the UK. The RAC’s Fuel Watch tracks prices at supermarket and independent retailers across the country and provides a national average.

Petrol is currently 189.3p per litre and diesel is 197.1ppl.

How have fuel prices changed?

At the height of the Covid pandemic and during locking, petrol costs briefly fell to around £1 a litre but since early 2021 have been climbing almost constantly.

From 114p per litre in December 2020, they climbed consistently to October 2021, at which point they broke the previous record highs set in April 2012, reaching 142.94p for petrol and 147.94p for diesel. From there until late November 2021 new records were set on a daily basis before a brief period of calm.

However, prices spiked again on February 13, 2022, reaching 148.02p for petrol and 151.57p for diesel, according to RAC data, and rose on a nearly daily basis until late March when easing wholesale prices and a cut in fuel duty began to have some effect. Prices remained relatively stable in April but climbed again in May.

Why have fuel prices risen?

The price of fuel at the pumps is dictated largely by the price of oil and this has been climbing sharply since early 2021, going from around £55 per barrel in January 2021 to more than $130 per barrel in early March 2022. It fell back slightly in April but is now sitting at more than $115 in late May.

After dropping dramatically in 2020, demand for oil has returned to pre-pandemic levels, as world economies open up again. However major oil producing nations are struggling to meet this demand, forcing prices up.

The ongoing war in Ukraine has also caused uncertainty and instability in global markets.

Russia is the world’s third largest oil producer, responsible for around 10% of global oil output and its invasion of Ukraine has caused fears that its supply to international markets could be affected. Many countries have also announced their intention to ban imports of Russian gas and oil, which has pushed up the price of supplies from other oil-producing nations.

The UK’s fuel retailers have also been accused of keeing prices unneccesarily high and extending their profit margins rather than passing on fluctuations in price to drivers.

Will fuel prices come down?

After falling in late March and early April, May and June have seen a period of fresh oil price rises and a weakening of the pound against the dollar, both of which are likely to mean more increases at petrol stations.

The RAC’s Simon Williams said that the latest wholesale costs brought some hope for owners of petrol cars but bad news for diesel drivers.

He said: “Looking at the wholesale cost of petrol, which has settled due the oil price falling, petrol pump prices really should not continue to rise, if anything they ought to begin reducing. Sadly though, diesel looks destined to head rapidly towards an average of £2 a litre which would make a full tank £110.

“We strongly hope the extent of the rises seen in both fuels will finally force the Government to take action to ease the burden on drivers by further cutting duty or lessening the punishing impact of VAT which currently accounts for 31p a litre on petrol – 6p more than it was before the Ukraine war began.”