Petrol and diesel prices at shocking UK all-time record high as drivers ‘lose out badly’

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The average price of petrol at the pumps across the UK hit a new record yesterday, reaching 167.64p per litre. The previous record of 167.30p a litre was set on March 22, the day before the Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement.

During the “mini-budget”, the Chancellor announced a five pence reduction in fuel duty rates as a bid to lower prices for drivers.

Following his 5p fuel duty cut, petrol fell to 161.92p a litre on April 14 before starting to rise again.

Diesel also continues to climb to new all-time highs, reaching 180.88p a litre yesterday.

Compared to a year ago, when petrol averaged 128.38p a litre and diesel 130.80p, the cost of filling the typical 55-litre has risen from £70.61 to £92.20 for petrol and from £71.94 to £99.48 for diesel.

Luke Bosdet, AA’s fuel price spokesperson, commented on Rishi Sunak’s fuel duty cut and what it will mean for drivers in the future.

He said: “Despite his best efforts, the Chancellor must feel like King Canute having tried to reverse the tide of rising pump prices.

“At least though, he can say that UK drivers would be £2.75 a tank even more worse off now had he not tried to take action in March.

“He hasn’t been helped by a fuel trade that, despite a 16p-a-litre fall in petrol costs that coincided with the Spring Statement, couldn’t even pass on the full 5p fuel duty cut and the 1p VAT reduction that it brought with it.”

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This comes as AA analysis has found that supermarkets offer the cheapest rates of petrol, just days after the Governor of the Bank of England warned of “apocalyptic” cost of living rises.

Drivers can save an average of 4.7p per litre on petrol and 4.6p at diesel compared to oil company sites.

However, motorists will need to deal with “pump price postcode lottery” which can see up to 8p-a-litre difference between towns.

Looking at the 10 leading fuel retailer brands, the Big Four supermarkets averaged 162.98p for a litre of petrol while six oil company brands averaged 167.63p – a difference of 4.65p a litre.

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With diesel, the superstores averaged 176.84p a litre while their oil company rivals averaged 181.40p – a difference of 4.56p a litre.

For a car with a typical 55-litre tank, filling up at a supermarket averages around £2.50 cheaper.

Mr Bosdet added: “What drivers are experiencing in some places this week is a postcode pump price lottery on steroids. 

“If you live in the wrong town and don’t travel to somewhere where fuel retailers are competitive, you lose out badly.

“Drivers in Newbury used to complain about paying 3p more for supermarket fuel than up the road in Reading. Now the difference is more than twice that.

“National price averages for supermarkets look much better than oil company sites but, where a supermarket sets its lower price against an expensive local rival, drivers lose out.

“Essentially, the dearer non-supermarket forecourt is calling the shots. 

“Northern Ireland has combatted that with its online Fuel Price Checker. Drivers don’t have to travel to a neighbouring town to find out if they are getting a good deal for their fuel, they can just check it on their smartphones.

“Expanding that across the country would be a far faster response by the Government to the broken system of road fuel pricing in the UK than a lengthy investigation.”

Residents of Newbury who commute along the M4 to Reading each day experience an 8p-a-litre difference in the price of petrol between the two towns – and that’s at the supermarkets.

Out on the motorway, petrol is 28p more expensive than the cheapest supermarket.

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