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21/05/2024

Latest petrol and diesel fuel prices

Written By Phill Tromans

Should I buy a diesel car in 2021?

Key Statistics

  • The average fuel price in the UK is 143.75p per litre of petrol and 153p per litre of diesel.
  • Iran, Libya, and Venezuela have the cheapest gasoline prices in the world at 22 PPL (£0.022), 23 PPL (£0.023), and 27 PPL (£0.022) respectively.
  • The Isle of Wight is the most expensive region in the UK to purchase petrol with prices peaking up to 150.6p. 
  • Northern Ireland is the cheapest place in the UK to buy fuel. As of 13 March 2024, the price of petrol in Belfast (BT) was 138.4p while diesel was 147.6p
  • The average price of gasoline around the world is £1.03 per litre and diesel is £0.99 litre.
  • At £1.451 per litre, the UK currently ranks #145 for cheapest gasoline price in the world (or 25th most expensive place to buy gasoline)
  • A litre of gasoline costs £2.446 in Hong Kong, making it the most expensive place to buy gasoline in the word — it would cost £134.53 to fill a 55-litre tank.
  • As of 2022, the US ranked #1 for gasoline consumption in the world with 8.81 million barrels per day . The latest value for China is 3.15 million barrels per day in 2021.
  • The gap between supermarket fuel prices and the UK average is just 0.52ppl for petrol and 0.57p for diesel as of March 2023. 

The latest average UK fuel prices, as of the 20th of May 2024, are 149.14p for petrol and 155.97p for diesel

While petrol and diesel prices are lower than those seen immediately in the wake of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the RAC says motorists are still being overcharged and accused supermarket chains of taking overly generous profit margins.

The company, which campaigns on behalf of motorists, has for some time called on the UK's biggest retailers to cut the price of petrol to reflect lower wholesale costs, which have dropped towards the end of 2023. Although the Government cut fuel duty by 5p in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the RAC says the move has helped retailers more than drivers – it says the average retailer margin was 13p in a litre for petrol in December, compared to the long-term average of 7p a litre.

The December figures also show that prices on the UK mainland are 5p more expensive than in Northern Ireland

The organisation has called on the government to set up a price monitoring body with powers to take action against big retailers that don't reflect falling wholesale prices.

UK Fuel Prices

Tesco Fuel Prices Today

  • Petrol price is 146.0/L at Tesco
  • Diesel price is 152.0/L at Tesco

Asda Fuel Prices Today

  • Petrol price is 148.0/L at Asda
  • Diesel price is 154.0/L at Asda

Morrisons Fuel Prices

  • Petrol price is 146.0/L at Morrisons
  • Diesel price is 153.0/L at Morrisons

Sainsbury’s Fuel Prices

  • Petrol price is 146.0/L at Sainsbury’s
  • Diesel price is 153.0/L at Sainsbury’s

Shell Fuel Prices

  • Petrol price is 152.7/L at Shell
  • Diesel price is 160.3/L at Shell

BP Fuel Prices

  • Petrol price is 150.5/L at BP
  • Diesel price is 157.3/L at BP


Average petrol pump price, March 2019 - August 2023 (source: Experian Catalist)
Average diesel pump price, March 2019 - August 2023 (source: Experian Catalist)

Why are fuel prices still so high?

Although prices have dropped in the past few months, fuel is still more expensive then it was. The simple explanation is that the cost of a barrel of oil has risen. In 2020 the wholesale price of a barrel of crude oil was around $40. 

At the start of January 2022 the cost of oil was $79 but this had risen to $92 by the end of the month and went above $100 per barrel after Russia (the second largest oil producer in the world) invaded neighbouring Ukraine in February 2022, making traders worried about disruption to the global supply chain. 

The price of oil went on to hit $137.72 a barrel on 8 March 2022 – the highest it has been since 2008, although it fell to $109.98 by the end of the month. 

In August 2022 the price of oil dropped under $100 and finished the month on $90.63 a barrel. Prices cames down further in 2023 and by May, the price of a barrel of oil was down to $72.50. At the end of October, prices were hovering around $90 a barrel by the end of 2023 it had dipped below $80. 

When the price of oil rises, fuel retailers usually pass on the cost to consumers at the pumps although they can absorb some of the increases. However, when wholesale prices fall, retailers are reluctant to pass the savings on.

Indeed, fuel retailers have an important role to play in fuel prices. Competition between the 'big four' supermarkets Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury's has helped to reduce prices in the past – when one supermarket giant cuts their fuel prices others often follow. 

In 2023, fuel retailers are once again being heavily criticised for not cutting the cost of fuel at the pumps when the price of oil is dropping.

On 15 December 2023, the cost of a litre of wholesale diesel was 112.3p while petrol was 103.8p.

The UK Government has a significant impact on fuel prices. This is because it controls two major components: fuel duty, which is currently at 52.95p per litre, and the standard 20% VAT rate. These two elements together make up the bulk of the price of petrol and diesel.

Fuel duty was frozen from March 2011 to March 2023, bringing some relief for drivers in the midst of rising prices, while the former Chancellor Rishi Sunak lowered it by 5ppl in the Spring Budget 2023

When the Government introduced E10 petrol in England, Scotland and Wales in September 2021 it had an impact on fuel prices as ethanol is more expensive than petrol.

Other factors which influence wholesale prices, according to the RAC, are: oil refinery production and capacity, the pound to dollar exchange rate, as refined fuel is sold in US dollars per metric tonne and distribution costs. 

What makes up the cost of a litre of petrol?

Breakdown of the average UK price of petrol (140.29p. Source: RAC)

Element

  • Wholesale petrol (90%)
  • Bio content (up to 10%) - E10
  • Delivery and oil company 
  • Retailer margin
  • Fuel duty
  • VAT at 20%

Pence per litre

  • 42.79
  • 6.20
  • 1.70
  • 13.26
  • 52.95
  • 23.38

Percentage of total price

  • 31%
  • 4%
  • 1%
  • 10%
  • 38%
  • 17%

How much does it cost to fill up the average family car?

As of 7 January 2024, it now costs £77.16 to fill up a Ford Focus (55-litre fuel tank) with petrol and £81.52 to fill up with diesel. 

Which is the most expensive place in the UK to buy fuel?

In November 2023, the South East had the highest average diesel and petrol prices, with drivers paying 163.04ppl for diesel and 155.6ppl for petrol. 

Which is the cheapest place in the UK to buy fuel?

Northern Ireland is the cheapest place in the UK to buy fuel. In November 2023 the average price of petrol in Northern Ireland was 150.02p while diesel was 157.48p. 

How do regional fuel prices compare?

Cost of petrol and diesel in different parts of the UK in November 2023 (source: RAC Fuel Watch)

Area

  • UK average
  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • North East
  • North West
  • Yorkshire and the Humber 
  • West Midlands
  • East Midlands
  • Essex and East Anglia 
  • London
  • South East
  • South West

Petrol price

  • 146.95
  • 150.02
  • 153.69
  • 154.35
  • 153.78
  • 154.21
  • 153.79
  • 155.01
  • 154.73
  • 155.34
  • 154.92
  • 155.6
  • 154.92

Diesel price

  • 154.4
  • 157.48
  • 161.6
  • 161.55
  • 160.01
  • 160.23
  • 161.35
  • 161.92
  • 161.2
  • 161.57
  • 162.48
  • 163.04
  • 162.31

Where can I find the cheapest fuel prices near me?

Supermarkets, in general, have the cheapest fuel prices. The big four supermarkets – Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco – all lowered prices after the 5p fuel duty cut.  BP-owned and Shell-owned fuel stations also applied the 5p cut (6p including VAT).

However, the gap between supermarket fuel prices and the national average in December 2023 was just 2.7ppl for petrol (with the UK average being 140.29p and the average at supermarkets being 137.51p). The difference in the price of diesel was 2.33p (the average price at supermarkets was 148.22p against a national average price of 145.89p) 

As of March 2024, the gap between supermarket fuel prices and the UK average is just 0.52ppl for petrol (with the UK average being 143.49p and the average at supermarkets being 142.97p). The difference in the price of diesel was 0.57p (the average price at supermarkets was 152.15p against the UK average price of 152.69p). 

What are the average monthly road fuel prices in the UK?

Average monthly petrol and diesel retail prices 

Date

  • January 2023
  • February 2023
  • March 2023
  • April 2023
  • May 2023
  • June 2023
  • July 2023
  • August 2023
  • September 2023
  • October 2023
  • November 2023
  • December 2023

Petrol price

  • 148.8
  • 148.3
  • 147.2
  • 146.9
  • 144.7
  • 143.6
  • 143.5
  • 149.1
  • 155.5
  • 156.2
  • 150.8
  • 141.8

Diesel price

  • 171.1
  • 168.5
  • 165.5
  • 161.1
  • 153.9
  • 145.5
  • 144.4
  • 151.0
  • 159.4
  • 162.6
  • 158.1
  • 149.7

Why do fuel prices fluctuate?

An increase in the demand for fuel, both domestically and internationally, can cause prices to increase. Fluctuation may arise from interruptions in pipeline supply or refinery maintenance, leading to decreased availability and consequently higher bids for the limited supply.

Are fuel prices going down?

Since the start of the new year 2024, fuel prices have dropped slightly, after straight months of rises in 2023. The latest fuel prices, as of March 2023, are 142.97p per litre for petrol and 152.69p for diesel.

Compared to the start of 2023, prices for petrol in 2024 remain considerably lower – in January 2023, the average price was 155.46p per litre, and that dropped to a low of 143.99p in July. Diesel has been more unstable – it cost an average of 178.94p in January, and just 146.40p in July.

How do fuel prices work?

How often do fuel prices change?

How often do pump prices change in the UK? Fuel prices change whenever there is a significant increase or reduction in the wholesale price of petrol or diesel. Retailers can update their prices to reflect these changes as often as they like.

Who sets fuel prices in the UK?

The price you pay per litre of petrol and diesel depends on wholesale fuel prices (i.e. the price retailers pay to get fuel) which are themselves affected by: the global crude oil price, which fluctuates according to supply and demand of crude oil.

What affects fuel prices?

There are 8 factors that affect fuel prices:

  • Global price of crude oil
  • Cost of distribution
  • Fuel duty charge
  • Supply and demand for crude oil
  • Exchange rate
  • Retailer margin
  • VAT
  • Refinery production and capacity. 

Even a small change in any of these is reflected in the price of fuel at the pump.

Countries with the Highest Crude Oil Exports 2023

Countries with the highest amount of crude oil exports in 2023 by revenue and barrels

Country

  • Saudi Arabia
  • Russia
  • Canada
  • Iraq
  • United States*
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Nigeria
  • Norway
  • Kuwait
  • Brazil

Crude Oil Exports Value (USD)

  • $138 billion
  • $113 billion
  • $81.2 billion
  • $72 billion
  •  $67.6 billion
  • $58.5 billion
  • $41.8 billion
  • $41.5 billion 
  • $40.1 billion
  • $30.7 billion

Barrels per Day

  • 12.4 million 
  • 10.6 million 
  • 4.8 million
  • 4.3 million
  • 11.9 million 
  • 3.24 million 
  • 1.72 million
  • 2 million
  • 2.71 million
  • 2.24 million 

Global Fuel Prices

  • The average price of gasoline around the world is £1.03 per litre. 
  • Iran, Libya, and Venezuela have the cheapest gasoline prices in the world at 22 PPL (£0.022), 23 PPL (£0.023), and 27 PPL (£0.022) respectively.
  • At £1.451 per litre, the UK currently ranks #145 for cheapest gasoline price in the world (or 25th most expensive place to buy gasoline)
  • A litre of gasoline costs £2.446 in Hong Kong, making it the most expensive place to buy gasoline in the word — it would cost £134.53 to fill a 55-litre tank.
  • The average price of diesel around the world is £0.99 litre.
  • At £0.003 per litre, Venezuela has the world’s cheapest diesel price, followed by Iran (£0.004 per litre) and Libya (£0.024 per litre).
  • At £2.337 per litre, Hong Kong had the world’s most expensive diesel price in March 2024, followed by Iceland (£1.853 per litre) and Monaco (£1.802 per litre).
  • At £1.548 per litre, the UK ranked #159 for cheapest diesel price in the world (or 10th most expensive place to buy diesel) in March 2024.
  • The average price of diesel around the world is £0.99 litre.
  • At £0.003 per litre, Venezuela has the world’s cheapest diesel price, followed by Iran (£0.004 per litre) and Libya (£0.024 per litre).
  • At £2.337 per litre, Hong Kong currently has the world’s most expensive diesel price, followed by Iceland (£1.853 per litre) and Monaco (£1.802 per litre).
  • In March 2024, £1.548 per litre, the UK ranked #159 for cheapest diesel price in the world (or 10th most expensive country globally to buy diesel).
  • As of 2022, the US ranked #1 for gasoline consumption in the world with 8.81 million barrels per day . The latest value for China is 3.15 million barrels per day in 2021.
  • Russia is the third biggest gasoline market in the world with 829.65 thousand barrels consumed per day. 
  • In 2022, the US consumed 4.3 million barrels of diesel and heating oil per month. China’s data from 2021 puts it in second place with 3 million barrels per day. 
  • The UK consumed 608.06 thousand barrels of diesel and heating oil in 2022, the 9th highest consumption in the world.

Impact of Fuel Prices on Industries

Fuel is a critical piece of the world economy and a primary source of energy that powers various industries and enables households to sustain their daily lives. However, fuel prices are the result of constantly fluctuating and complex factors on a global scale. Here’s how fluctuations in fuel prices affect various industries:

Transportation

Fuel prices determine the cost of transportation for vehicle owners — and how much travelling they’re willing to do. High fuel prices means higher expenses for drivers and can strain a person’s budgets. Long-distance travel, holidays, and business trips can become more expensive (and less likely to happen or infrequent) due to high fuel prices.

Manufacturing 

Fuel is a significant and unavoidable expense for many businesses, particularly those in logistics, transportation, and manufacturing. High fuel prices can increase operating costs and reduce competitiveness. This can, in turn, lead to higher production costs and final product prices, which is reflected in prices for the customer.

Agriculture

The effect of high fuel cost on agriculture is the same for most sectors: farm produce has to be moved from the farm to the final consumer, or to the processing plant and then to the consumer — this transportation depends on fuel. Tractors and other machines also need fuel. 

Aviation

On average, the largest operating costs for airlines are the companies' fuel expenses and those expenses related to the procurement of aeroplane fuel. Fuel costs are such a huge part of an airline's overhead percentage-wise that even the slightest fluctuation in the price of oil is bound to affect the airline's bottom line. 

What effect does a rise in fuel prices have on product prices?

When fuel prices increase, the cost of almost all products are bound to increase too — especially products that go through a fuel-dependent manufacturing/processing stage or that need to be transported to the consumer. 

Sometimes the effect of increased fuel prices may be indirect. For instance, a scented candle producer may not need fuel to make the candles. But since they pay more to fuel their car or for rides to buy candle ingredients, then they’ll likely include that cost in the price of their candles.

Sources

RAC Fuel Watch, the AA, Experian Catalyst, Investopedia, Our World In Data, CBC, OPEC, Norsk Petroleum, The Guardian, Reuters, EIA, My NRMA, Get Road Trip, PetrolPrices, Fleet News, Lookers, Birmingham Mail, Yahoo News, Energy, Global Petrol Prices, The Global Economy, Energy Inst, BP, OEC, World's Top Export

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