Petrol and diesel prices soaring again with drivers in for 'big shock' at fuel station

A petrol station

August marked one of the biggest monthly price rises for petrol and diesel in 23 years

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 04/09/2023

- 09:37

Retailers and supermarkets were forced to increase fuel prices because of global oil costs

Drivers have been hit with one of the biggest monthly price rises for petrol and diesel in a staggering 23 years.

In August alone, the price of petrol rocketed by nearly 7p a litre, while diesel drivers saw a rise of 8p.

According to RAC Fuel Watch, this makes for the fifth and sixth biggest monthly rises in 23 years.

The average price of unleaded petrol at the end of August stood at 152.25p, adding nearly £4 to the average price of a tank (£83.74).

Petrol and diesel pumps

Fuel prices could continue to rise


Diesel also increased from 146.36p to 154.37p, making a fill-up nearly £4.50 (£4.41) more expensive.

Simon Williams, fuel spokesperson for the RAC, described last month as a “big shock” for drivers when at the fuel station.

The expert detailed how drivers were getting used to seeing far lower prices than the record costs set last summer, where average prices lingered at around £1.90 for petrol and £2 for diesel.

He added: “Seeing £4 or more go on to the cost of a tank in the space of just a few weeks from a pump price rise of 6-7p a litre is galling, particularly for those who drive lots of miles or run an older, less fuel-efficient car.

“While the increase is clearly bad news for drivers, it could have been far worse had the biggest retailers not let their inflated margins from earlier in the year return to more normal levels as wholesale fuel costs went up.”

The wholesale cost of oil started to rise again in late July, hitting $85 or £67, further forcing petrol and diesel prices up.

Because of this, retailers were forced to up their prices, but the differences between major sellers were not as large as last year.

This follows a ground-breaking report from the Competitions and Markets Authority which accused retailers and supermarkets of not reducing costs quickly enough and prioritising profits.

Prices could increase in the coming weeks, with the RAC stating that the health of the Chinese economy and the end of the summer driving season in the United States could potentially have an impact.

Simon Williams, continued, saying: “It appears they used the wholesale price rise to subtly cover their tracks – after all, big reductions at the pumps soon after the CMA’s findings were announced would perhaps have been far too obvious a step.

“All we can hope is that this move by many big retailers back to fairer forecourt pricing remains when wholesale costs go down again. Only time will tell.

“That said, fuel prices in Northern Ireland are still lower than on this side of the Irish Sea with petrol at an average of 149.5p and diesel at 151.6p, however, the gap has shrunk by around 2p a litre in a month which is much better news all round.


A petrol pump

Fuel prices are cheaper in Northern Ireland


“Petrol is now only 1.5p cheaper in Northern Ireland while diesel is 2p less.”

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