The cost of petrol is at highest since 2014

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The price of petrol is at its highest for four years and a “horrible year on the UK’s forecourts” is set to continue.

The stark message came from The RAC, whose Fuel Watch data also revealed that prices have gone up for eight of the last 12 months, making both fuels 13p more expensive than this time last year.

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By the end of August prices had crept up by 3.38p for petrol (123.77p to 127.15p) and by 3.12p for diesel (127.23p to 130.35p).

The average price of petrol in the UK is now at its highest since the end of July 2014 just before the price of a barrel of oil began to freefall and diesel is at its most expensive since the beginning of October the same year. The very important costly difference for every driver, however, is that back then oil was $106 a barrel and the pound was worth $1.70.

Oil finished August at $77.54 while sterling was only worth $1.29 which means both petrol and diesel are far more expensive for retailers to buy on the wholesale market. So despite the lower oil price, the substantially weakened pound has caused fuel prices to reach their highest levels for the last four years.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “August was another bad month for motorists and it’s rapidly becoming a horrible year on the UK’s forecourts and it looks like further increases are inevitable. Having benefitted from some very low prices two-and-a-half years ago drivers get a nasty shock every time they go to fill up their cars, having to fork out more and more.

“Unfortunately there is currently no end in sight to the rising cost of fuel. With the pound at such a low against the dollar, and fuel being traded in the US currency, it will only take a moderate rise in the price of oil for some eye-wateringly high prices to be seen at the pumps.”

The North East and Scotland suffered the largest rise in the price of unleaded in August at 1.81p a litre. Unleaded rose by 1.68p in August in Yorkshire.

Fuel could price drivers off roads

A motoring expert believes there will be “no respite” from rising fuel costs.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com said: “It’s clear there will be no respite for drivers as prices are expected only to continue increasing. According to our fuel price index, the average medium-sized car (57L) now costs £74.24 to fill up. Drivers will be hit in the pocket even more if the freeze on fuel duty is lifted in the next autumn budget. Paying for fuel is part and parcel of owning a car but the government could end up pricing drivers off the roads.”

See www.confused.com/on-the-road/petrol-prices to find cheap fuel near you.