Petrol prices up 10p this year - find the cheapest place to buy fuel near you

The RAC has urged the regulator to tackle "unfair retailer margins which lead to drivers getting a raw deal"
The RAC has urged the regulator to tackle "unfair retailer margins which lead to drivers getting a raw deal" -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto

Petrol prices have risen by 10p per litre so far this year, new figures show, with experts warning that drivers are also being "seriously overcharged" for diesel.

Research from the RAC found that the average price of a litre of petrol increased by 3p, to 150p, in April alone, while average diesel prices similarly rose by 2p per litre, to 157.8p, last month. Since the start of the year, rising prices at the pump have added around £5.50 to the cost of filling a typical 55-litre family car, the motoring organisation said.

These latest findings come after years of drivers facing unusually high petrol and diesel prices, as a result of retailers passing on price hikes for oil onto their customers. The RAC is now calling on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) – an independent non-ministerial Government department – to address the "glaring issues" with fuel retailing, PA reports.

Average petrol and diesel prices hit record highs during the summer of 2022. The highest ever average prices were 191.5p per litre of petrol (on July 3, 2022) and 199.09p per litre of diesel (on June 25, 2022), according to the RAC - although some forecourts charged considerably higher than these averages.

The RAC has urged the regulator - which is responsible for monitoring prices and will oversee the incoming PumpWatch price transparency scheme - to tackle "unfair retailer margins which lead to drivers getting a raw deal". The RAC said if the biggest fuel retailers charged "fairer margins" it would benefit drivers in several ways, including:

  • Ending the "postcode lottery" which means some companies charge "wildly different prices" across locations

  • Stopping so-called rocket and feather pricing, where pump prices surge when wholesale costs rise, but fall slowly when wholesale costs decline

  • Reducing fuel prices in Britain to levels in Northern Ireland, where they are consistently 5p per litre cheaper.

Despite the CMA expressing concern about retailer margins earlier this year, the average margins for a litre of petrol and diesel is 9.5p and 17.5p respectively, according to the RAC. The long-term average margin for both fuels is around 8.0p.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: "Drivers are once again having to dig deep just to go about their daily lives. Our data shows petrol and diesel have now gone up 10p a litre so far this year on the back of further increases in April of 3p and 2p respectively.

"Some of this is down to the oil price and the pound-to-dollar exchange rate making wholesale petrol more expensive for retailers to buy. But unfortunately, it's also very apparent that retailers are making massive margins on diesel."

He added: "Worryingly, the CMA's warning shot about higher retailer margins at the end of March appears to have fallen on deaf ears, meaning drivers are once again being seriously overcharged for diesel."

The RAC advises that pump prices can vary considerably even over a short distance, so it's worth shopping around for your fuel. You can use our interactive tool below to enter your postcode and find the cheapest petrol station where you live.