Fuel prices have risen by the largest amount in 16 months with warnings of more increases to come.
The average price of a litre of petrol and diesel rose by just under 3p in April compared with March’s costs.
According to data from the RAC’s Fuel Watch, a litre of unleaded petrol now costs 120.46p and a litre of diesel 126.02p.
The rise comes on the back of a 12 per cent surge in the price of oil and industry observers are predicting there could be worse news to come for motorists as political uncertainty has a knock-on effect on global oil production.
The latest rise is the sharpest since December 2016 and puts both petrol and diesel at levels not seem since late 2014.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “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 (£67.76) 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 (£69.31), which is £5.50 more.”
Mr Williams added: “Unfortunately, the price of oil gained $8 in April driven by a combination of international issues, all of which could negatively affect global supply. The biggest of these is the fear that the United States could re-impose crippling economic sanctions on Iran – the third largest oil producer in OPEC.
“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.”
Regional fuel price variation
Northern Ireland unusually experienced the biggest increase in petrol prices with a 3.47p rise from being the cheapest in the UK at 119.47p a litre to a ‘middle of the road’ 122.94p. The West Midlands saw the smallest increase at 2.38p to 122.68p. The South East is still the most expensive place to buy petrol with a litre costing 124.05p at the end of April.
Looking at diesel prices, motorists in Scotland were subject to the biggest uplift – 3.16p – to 126.06p, which was only just worse than Northern Ireland, although drivers there can take some solace from the knowledge that they are buying the cheapest diesel in the UK at 125p a litre. The most expensive diesel can be found in the South East where a litre now costs 126.79p.