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Cost of refuelling a car plummets

Filling up at the petrol pump

The average cost of filling up a car with unleaded petrol has dropped to its lowest level since May 2016, as a result of the historic oil price falls caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Data from RAC Fuel Watch shows the average price of a litre of petrol fell by 4.15p in April, from 113.1p to 108.95p, meaning the cost of filling a 55-litre hatchback fell from £62.21 to just £59.92.

Those able to refill at the cheapest UK supermarket forecourts meanwhile were able to do so for just £56.49. Drivers of diesel cars can now refill for £63, down from £64.63, thanks to the average price of a litre falling nearly 3p from 117.5p to 114.54p per litre last month.

Ironically, the impact of the coronavirus, despite being one of the main factors in why UK fuel prices have dropped, is also the reason why they are not falling any further.

The cost of oil collapsed to its lowest level in 21 years last month – down to just $13 on 21 April – as a result of demand disappearing in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

However, while this sent wholesale prices plunging still further in the month, some of the UK’s largest fuel retailers did not cut forecourt prices with so few people buying fuel in the first place. This was in sharp contrast to March which saw the supermarkets announce an unprecedented 12p per litre price chop on a single day.

The RAC reckons April can therefore be seen very much as a ‘catch-up’ month for other fuel retailers – while supermarket prices were largely static, other forecourts finally cut their prices which led to the average price paid by drivers across the UK falling.

It’s possible average fuel prices might fall a further 12p per litre. If fully reflected at the pumps, this would see unleaded down to an average price of 96p per litre and diesel down to 102p.

Regional average unleaded pump prices

Unleaded 01/04/2020 30/04/2020 Change
UK average 113.10 108.95 -4.15
Northern Ireland 107.30 104.03 -3.27
North East 110.76 107.00 -3.76
Wales 111.02 107.02 -4.00
Scotland 111.42 107.73 -3.69
North West 112.83 108.41 -4.42
Yorkshire And The Humber 111.95 108.67 -3.28
South West 113.03 109.10 -3.93
East 114.09 109.45 -4.64
West Midlands 113.80 109.62 -4.18
East Midlands 115.08 109.84 -5.24
South East 115.39 110.42 -4.97
London 115.87 110.55 -5.32

Regional average diesel pump prices

Diesel 01/04/2020 30/04/2020 Change
UK average 117.50 114.54 -2.96
Northern Ireland 113.44 110.66 -2.78
North East 115.94 113.49 -2.45
Wales 116.23 113.64 -2.59
North West 117.13 113.77 -3.36
Scotland 116.77 113.91 -2.86
Yorkshire And The Humber 117.18 114.13 -3.05
West Midlands 118.63 114.63 -4.00
South West 117.80 114.93 -2.87
East Midlands 118.39 115.18 -3.21
East 118.39 115.43 -2.96
London 119.34 115.58 -3.76
South East 119.34 115.90 -3.44

Statistics: RAC Fuel Watch, April 2020

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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