Petrol prices rise for sixth straight month, with more increases on the cards

Published 06 May 2021

April marked the sixth month of rising petrol prices, new RAC Fuel Watch figures reveal. With wholesale petrol and diesel prices on the rise, experts predict even higher pump prices in May.

Petrol ended the month at an average of 127.19p per litre — its highest price since January 2020 — while diesel rose by slightly less to 129.73p per litre. For diesel, April marked the fifth consecutive monthly increase.

This means it now costs £69.95 to fill up a 55-litre family car — like a Ford Focus — with petrol and £71.35 to fully fill an equivalent-sized diesel car.

But with the cost of a barrel of oil having risen by nearly $5 ($4.82) during April, and now standing at $66.93, wholesale petrol and diesel prices are also now on the rise which is likely to translate into even higher pump prices for drivers in May.

Despite continued concern on world markets over the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are hopes for a recovery in the demand for oil by the summer, which is starting to push the oil price close to the $70 level – a price last seen in May 2019.

Fuel -pumps

The ‘big four’ supermarkets — Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons — are currently charging 4.5p less per litre of unleaded than the UK average (122.67p), and 4.19p less per litre of diesel (125.54p). At the opposite end of the scale, compared to average UK prices it costs 18p more per litre to fill up with petrol or diesel at motorway services (unleaded at 144.98p and 147.89p).

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “With lockdown restrictions easing, it’s very frustrating for drivers that they’re now having to contend with even higher fuel prices just at the point where many will be driving a lot more. But unfortunately, it’s the very fact people are driving more that’s causing petrol prices to go up as demand for oil – and in turn fuel – begins to outpace supply.

“The saving grace is the relative strength of the pound compared to the US dollar on world currency exchange markets. As oil is traded in dollars, a stronger pound means it costs less to buy for refining into motor fuel. If the value of the pound were to tumble, we’d all be paying much more at the pumps than we are at the moment.

“Currently, diesel car drivers have genuine cause to feel let down by fuel retailers as they should really be paying a lot less per litre to fill up as the wholesale price has been similar to that of petrol for most of April. Despite this, diesel is 2p a litre more expensive than petrol at 129.73p.”


Marcus Dillon-White    on 10 May 2021

You're wrong....Asda have been charging over £1.21 a litre for at least 6 weeks now, in the Wakefield area.

Edited by Marcus Dillon-White on 10/05/2021 at 19:36

WilliamRead    on 10 May 2021

Sainsbury's at Northwich, Cheshire - 1.159p on 8 May. Time for the Competition and Market's Authority to take on the fuel rip-off companies.

Buddyduke    on 10 May 2021

Shell garage 8 May £124.9 then 10 May £131.9 near Newcastle upon Tyne. 7 pence different already in 2 days.

colin h    on 11 May 2021

It's common knowledge, isn't it, that filling stations will charge as much as they can get away with. Simple supply and demand. For example, my car likes superunleaded which can vary between 10p and 18p per litre more than unleaded fuel. Motorway services are generally the worst.

Edited by colin h on 11/05/2021 at 10:55

aethelwulf    on 17 May 2021

Retailers are trying to make up for the lack of sales in 2020 due to motorists staying at home. My annual mileage was half my normal. It was annoying seeing petrol so cheap but nowhere to go!
Just as I expected when we can travel the price shoots up. Asda beat them all. That is where I go. Never refuelled on a Motorway in my life ( I am 73).

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