Ton of misery – drivers paid £100 more for petrol in 2018

  • Wales ends year second cheapest for petrol



Across the UK (17 December 2018) Petrol Diesel
(Pence per litre) (Pence per litre)
Northern Ireland 120.7 129.4
Scotland 121.1 131.3
Wales 120.6 130.5
North East 119.7 130.4
North West 121.1 131.0
Yorks & Humberside 121.2 130.5
West Midlands 121.5 130.6
East Midlands 121.7 130.9
Essex & East Anglia 122.5 131.7
South East 122.6 131.8
South West 122.1 131.3
London 121.9 131.4
UK AVERAGE 121.6 131.1


 UK drivers have this year paid on average 8p a litre or nearly £100 in total* more for their petrol than in 2017 – despite pump prices crashing 10p a litre since October.

Diesel drivers have suffered even more, averaging an extra 10p a litre for their fuel compared to last year, December’s AA Fuel Price Report reveals. Petrol in 2017 averaged 118.17p a litre, this year 126.11p; diesel jumped from 119.83p a litre last year to 129.55p this one.

The impact of oil rising to $85 a barrel this year, before collapsing to below $60 in the autumn, pushed petrol to a four-year high of 131.58p in mid October. Diesel peaked two weeks later at 136.94p.

However, despite the wholesale price of petrol with VAT falling more than 13p a litre, the average price of petrol has levelled out at around 121.5p a litre. Diesel is now down to 131p a litre.

A comparison of average pump prices by brand explains all – a 4p-a-litre difference in average petrol price between the Big Four supermarkets, and at least another 2p at oil company fuel stations.

From the first week of October to the first week of December, the wholesale petrol price fell from 44.5p to 33.6p a litre, becoming 53.4p versus 40.3p when VAT is added at the pump – a fall of 13.1p.

In March of this year, when the wholesale price of petrol averaged 33.5p a litre (before VAT), the average price of petrol across the UK stayed below 120p a litre.

The wholesale cost of diesel during the same period has dropped from 50.5p to 42.4p a litre. With VAT, that becomes 60.6p falling to 50.9p – a difference of nearly 10p.

Over the past five years, the pump price of fuel has averaged:

  (p/litre) (p/litre)
2018 126.11 129.55
2017 118.17 119.83
2016 109.79 110.50
2015 111.71 115.03
2014 128.35 134.03


“Pump prices at four-year highs and petrol stations who refused to pass on the full savings from the oil price crash this autumn have hiked a two-car family’s petrol costs by £200 this year,” says Luke Bosdet, the AA’s spokesman on fuel prices.

“A fiver off a tank of petrol in recent weeks has given drivers some relief from a painfully costly 2018. However, too many retailers paid lip service to weeks of Asda’s price cuts, competed only where they had to and hoped for the cost of oil price to go back up to justify their bloated prices. Now that oil is back down again, it’s time to stop fleecing their customers.”

“Populus surveyed more than 20,000 AA members in November and found that, while 43% were going to shop online for Christmas presents, only 12% were going to get their festive food delivered. With a business model built on customers driving to their superstores, it’s not right that supermarkets in uncompetitive towns exploit that relationship by keeping pump prices higher than they need be.”

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