8 April 2016

Fleet operating costs to rise as fuel price increase for first time in eight months

Fleet operating costs will rise following the first increase in the pump price of petrol and diesel for eight months, according to the latest RAC Fuel Watch data.

Pump prices have been falling since July last year, but the RAC says the average price of petrol and diesel suffered a sudden and unwelcome 3–4p a litre rise in March as oil went back above $40 a barrel for the first time since 4th December last year.

At the start of March the average price of a litre of petrol was 101.91p but by the close it was 105.26p - an increase of more than 3p, which added £1.84 to the cost of filling up an average 55-litre car.

The wholesale price of petrol, including VAT, increased 6p a litre from 97.13p to 103.19p, suggesting, said the motoring organisation, that the pump price was likely to go up again in the coming weeks.

Diesel forecourt prices increased over the same period by 3.7p a litre - 101.56p to 105.26p - even though the wholesale price only rose by 1.5p a litre (98.12p to 99.59p), adding £2 to the cost of a 55-litre tank.

That, said RAC, indicated that retailers were once again either using the lower diesel wholesale cost to subsidise the price of petrol or using it as a means of increasing their profit margin.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘The good times for motorists enjoying lower fuel prices had to come to an end at some point, but unfortunately it’s happened with a bit more of a bump than motorists were probably expecting.’