THREE months of fuel price drops came to a crashing end for motorists in February as retailers “instantly” passed on wholesale price rises.
The average price of a litre of petrol increased by nearly a penny to 120.42p, while diesel was up by 1.24p to almost 130p.
Getty – Contributor Petrol price rises were passed on to motorists in February despite months of falls
Motorists had enjoyed a drop in fuel costs during the previous three months, when petrol fell by 11p per litre and diesel dropped by 8p per litre, according to data from RAC Fuel Watch.
February’s price rise now means filling up an average 55-litre family car with petrol costs £66.23, while drivers of diesel vehicles are set back £71.43.
The big four supermarkets – Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – raised their prices to 117p for unleaded (up 0.30p) and to 126.10p for diesel (up 0.48p) in February.
This was led by Asda, which after more than six weeks of keeping its prices the same, passed on increases in wholesale prices to its customers, said RAC.
Prices on unleaded have increased the most in London
Diesel prices have risen by 1.14p on average across the UK
The increase was sparked by a five per cent jump in the price of oil amid a cut in production by OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and Russia.
Simon Williams, RAC fuel spokesman, said: “Drivers will be disappointed to see prices at the pumps going up again after enjoying three months of reductions.
“What they probably aren’t aware of is that retailers, who held off cuts for weeks when they were warranted, instantly raised their prices when they saw the wholesale price go up very slightly.
“This is unfortunately clear proof of the infamous ‘rocket and feather’ pricing strategy where prices go up like a rocket and fall like a feather.”
Ways to cut down on your fuel costsHERE are some tips on how you can slash the cost of fuel
Make your car more fuel-efficient. You can do this by keeping your tyres inflated, taking the roof rack off, emptying your car of clutter and turning off your air con when driving at lower speeds.
Find the cheapest fuel prices. PetrolPrices.com and Confused.com allows you to search prices of UK petrol stations. All you need to do is enter in your postcode and tell it how far you want to travel (up to 20 miles).
Drive more efficiently. Some ways to do this, include:
Accelerate gradually without over-revving
Always drive on the highest possible gear
If you can, allow your car to slow down naturally as your brake is a money burner
Re-starting your car is expensive, if you can keep moving
“”Even the cheapest supermarket fuel retailer Asda, which held its average petrol price at 113.7p since mid-January flinched, adding more than 1.5p a litre in four days,” Mr Williams added.
“It will be interesting to see if this comes off again as the wholesale price eased almost straightaway.
“Currently, retailers should actually be reducing their unleaded prices a little, but it remains to be seen whether they will pass on the savings to drivers on the forecourt.
“Based on their current track record you would have to say this seems unlikely.”
The Sun contacted Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco for a comment.
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In October last year, petrol prices rose to their highest levels since July 2014.
In the beginning of this year, furious MPs called for a fuel price watchdog to stop oil giants ripping off Britain’s 37 million motorists.
Meanwhile, a planned merger between Asda and Sainsbury’s could be stopped over fears it will push up prices of fuel for customers.
Theresa May promises to freeze fuel prices again during her Conservative Party conference speech
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