Fuel prices accelerate to most expensive in almost two years

Fuel price index by Confused.com reveals the cost of petrol increases 0.9 to 124.4p/l on average

Posted on 18 May 2018

Diesel prices rocket by 1.0p week-on-week to 127.5p/l, on average(2), following a hike in the cost of crude oil(3).
The average cost of filling a medium-sized tank (57L) with petrol reaches £71, which is £8 more expensive than August 2016, when prices were the lowest (110.8p/l)(2).
Almost one in five (18%) UK drivers are put off driving by the cost of fuel, with more than an eighth (13%) say they cannot afford to fill up their car with fuel on a regular basis.
The Isle of Man is the most expensive area(4) for petrol and diesel, costing on average 129.8p/l and 130.6p/l respectively(2).

Drivers are being forced to fork out even more for fuel, as prices continue to rise week-on-week, reaching the most expensive rates recorded by Confused.com in almost two years(1).

According to the fuel price index by Confused.com, the average price of petrol went up by 0.9p in just seven days, to an eye-watering 124.4p/l(2), following a hike in the cost of crude oil(3). And owners of diesel cars are also bearing the brunt of increases, with the average price per litre hiking up another 1.0p in one week to 127.5p/l.

These fuel hikes means drivers of a medium-sized car (57L) will be paying out £71 to fill their tanks with petrol. This is £8 more per tank than August 2016, when prices were at their lowest, costing 110.8p/l(2).  And it’s a similar picture for diesel cars. It now costs £73 to fill up a medium-sized (57L) car to capacity - £9 more expensive than it was in August 2016 when diesel was just 111.9p/l.

Fuel prices have been accelerating since March, when prices dipped slightly, with petrol increasing 4.2p, and diesel 4.1p in under two months. And just last week it was reported prices had reached the highest on record for April, however May is shaping up to even more expensive, with petrol and diesel costing 124.2p/l and 127.1p/l, respectively, on average, month to date.

And no doubt drivers across the UK are left feeling concerned as these prices continue to increase rapidly. In fact, almost one in five (18%) UK motorists are put off driving by the cost of fuel. And, sadly, it seems these inflated prices are hitting drivers in the pocket, with one in eight (13%) admitting they cannot afford to fill up their car on a regular basis. A further one in 10 (11%) only put enough fuel in their car to get them where they need to go. It’s no wonder one in six (16%) motorists say the cost of fuel is making it unaffordable to own a car. 

Some drivers will be feeling an even sharper sting when filling up their tanks, as some regions see prices soar above the UK average. In particular, the cost of petrol on the Isle of Man is 129.8p/l, on average – up a whopping 2.9p in just seven days – while diesel will set drivers back a painful 130.6p/l.

Top 5 petrol prices broken down by region

Region  Cost per litre (pence) 
Isle of Man 129.8
South East  124.8 
London 124.5
East of England 124.4
South West 124.2
Scotland 124.2

Top 5 diesel prices broken down by region

Region Cost per litre (pence) 
Isle of Man 130.6
South East 127.6
East of England 127.3
London 127.2
Scotland 127.1

While these prices are hitting drivers in their pockets, there are in fact ways to lower the amount they are paying in fuel, starting with shopping around. In fact, drivers could save a few pounds per tank. Some savvy motorists have wised up to this, with more than one in five (22%) saying they shop around online to find the cheapest fuel near them – something drivers can do using Confused.com’s fuel comparison tool. A further one in eight (12%) have put this into practice and often drive longer to find a cheaper station nearby. 

But, one positive that is coming from these price hikes is that many drivers are considering switching to alternative, greener fuels. In fact, more than one in eight (13%) say the cost of fuel is making them consider buying a hybrid car, while almost a tenth (9%) are considering switching to electric. And with the 2040 ban on new conventional petrol and diesel cars closing in, more and more drivers could be changing their preference in fuel type. As the countdown continues, Confused.com has created a fuel barometer to monitor public sentiment and car registrations, which will hopefully see an increase in trends for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “Fuel prices are at their most expensive in almost two years and drivers are feeling the pinch. Motorists will need to budget even more to fill up their tanks, especially if they are planning any long-distance road trips this summer. 

“To soothe the sting of sky-high petrol and diesel costs it’s more important than ever that drivers shop around to find the most affordable fuel. Drivers can find the cheapest station in their local area using Confused.com’s fuel price comparison tool. Any money saved is a driver win!”


Notes to editors

Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll on behalf of Confused.com. This was an online poll of 2,000 UK adults who drive (nationally representative sample). The research was conducted between 11th May and 15th May 2018.

1. Fuel prices based on Confused.com’s Fuel Price Index - https://www.confused.com/on-the-road/petrol-prices/fuel-price-index - which dates back to June 2016. Prices stated are the most expensive since Confused.com’s records started.
2. Confused.com’s weekly fuel price index is a comprehensive guide to fuel prices across the UK. Prices are obtained from 83% of fuel stations nationwide. Data provided by Experian. Data correct as of 16/05/18.
3. http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-5709381/UK-petrol-prices-rise-cost-oil-reaches-highest-2014.html 
4. Confused.com’s fuel price index provides an average of prices by region, as well as by postcode areas.

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