Drivers’ relief at the UK price of petrol falling 11.5p-a-litre during the autumn helped to drive monthly petrol consumption to its highest in more than four years.
However, the retail trade’s loss of 179 million litres from January to November 2018, according to latest official figures, represents 3.9 days of lost petrol sales, AA Fuel Price Report analysis reveals.
Over the weekend, average UK petrol prices remained below 120p a litre for the first time since March and diesel was back to May levels.
On Monday, petrol averaged 119.99p a litre, slightly up from Friday but down from 121.64p a litre a month ago. This compares with the year’s high of 131.58p a litre in mid October.
Diesel is down to 128.88p a litre, having been 131.06p a month ago and after peaking in early November at 136.92p.
However, oil bouncing back $10 a barrel has propelled the wholesale price of petrol from 30.3p a litre between Christmas and the New Year to 33.2p last week and into this one. Similarly, the cost of diesel heading for the pumps has gone up from 36.2p a litre during the festive period to 40.8p last week and 41.3p on Monday.
A comparison of pump prices by brand shows the oil company sites conceding more of recent wholesale savings to their customers, with Jet standing out by cutting its average below 120p a litre.
But, the main issue is how widely supermarket pump prices vary, both locally and on average. A year ago, there was a 1.7p-a-litre average petrol price gap between the cheapest and most expensive superstore brands. Now, at 3.6p a litre, it has more than doubled.