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Biggest fuel price rise for 16 months recorded

Date: 04 May 2018   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Fuel prices increased during April by the largest amount in 16 months, according to the RAC. 

The average price of petrol went up by 2.74p, to 123.20p, while the average price of diesel rose by 2.94p a litre, from 123.08p to 126.02p.

The RAC said the last time such a sharp increase was seen was in December 2016 and that neither fuel has been as expensive as it is now since 2014. 

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "A 12% surge in the price of oil has cost motorists dear in April.

"A 3p a litre rise at the pumps is fortunately fairly unusual, but it's definitely bad news as it means drivers are now paying 8p more a litre than they did last summer.

"The cost of filling up an average family-sized 55-litre car with petrol is now nearly £68, which is £4.50 more expensive than it was last July. For diesel car drivers it's even worse, with a tank costing over £69 which is £5.50 more."

Williams warned that uncertainty over global oil supplies could yet drive fuel prices higher.

"Unfortunately, the price of oil gained $8 in April driven by a combination of international issues, all of which could negatively affect global supply," he said.

"The biggest of these is the fear that the US could re-impose crippling economic sanctions on Iran - the third largest oil producer in OPEC - over its controversial nuclear energy programme which it has been limiting as agreed with six world powers, including the US and the UK.

"The outlook for fuel prices is not good at the moment as the oil price is well over $70 a barrel, and if the US does try to re-impose sanctions on Iran and supply drops, motorists will end up paying far more at the pumps.

"Our current two-week prediction is for prices to go up by a penny or so, but this could quickly get worse if oil gets more expensive and the pound weakens any further."

On a regional level, Northern Ireland saw the biggest increase in petrol prices during April, with a 3.47p rise from being the cheapest in the UK at 119.47p a litre to a more typical 122.94p.

The West Midlands saw the smallest increase at 2.38p, to 122.68p.

The South East remained the most expensive place to buy petrol with a litre costing 124.05p at the end of April.

Motorists in Scotland saw the biggest rise in diesel prices, by 3.16p to 126.06p.

Northern Ireland had the cheapest diesel at 125p a litre, while the most expensive was in the South East at 126.79p a litre.