Average petrol and diesel prices have hit their most expensive levels in more than three years following another rise at the pumps. Petrol is now at its highest level since late November 2014 and diesel the highest since early December 2014.
According to the latest figures from RAC Fuel Watch, diesel has gone up 1.56p to an average 125.04p a litre, and unleaded has increased 1.34p to 122.24p a litre. This means that the price of diesel has gone up 5p a litre, rising from around 120p in October to 125p now. Petrol has increased 4p a litre since October 2017 when it was around 118p.
The average price charged by the big four supermarket fuel retailers has suffered a rise of 2p a litre, taking the average price of a litre of supermarket petrol to 119.76p and diesel to 122.45p.
The RAC says that price rises have been sparked by a 2% increase in the price of oil, albeit somewhat softened by a more recent 5% boost in the value of the pound to $1.42 on 31 January.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “The start of 2018 hasn’t been good for motorists as they’ve had to endure their third consecutive monthly increase at the pumps. Both petrol and diesel are now at their highest points for more than three years which is bound to be making a dent in household budgets.”
Filling a 55-litre family car with petrol now costs £67.23 whereas the diesel equivalent is more expensive at £68.77. This is in stark contrast to the cheapest point of 2017 in July when a tank of unleaded was £4.35 cheaper, and a diesel fill-up was £5.51 cheaper.
Regional fuel price variation
Scotland has suffered the most significant increase in the price of both unleaded and diesel. Petrol north of the border went up 1.76p a litre in January from 120.12p to 121.88p. The North East, however, had the smallest rise with only a penny being added to the price – 120.40p to 121.49p.
By the end of January, the West Midlands recorded the lowest average price of petrol at 121.49p, although Northern Ireland’s was almost identical at 121.50p. The South East was the most expensive at 123.15p.
The East of England was the most expensive place in the UK to buy diesel with a litre averaging 125.73p there. Northern Ireland remained the cheapest for diesel with a litre costing 124.02p at the end of January.
Regional average unleaded pump prices
|Yorkshire And The Humber||120.26||121.55||1.29|
Regional average diesel pump prices
|Yorkshire And The Humber||123.06||124.45||1.39|
What can fleets do?
To try and combat rising fuel prices at the pumps, fleet managers have other options they can consider.
One sure way is to introduce a corporate fuel card which provides an accurate measure of a company’s fuel expenditure, as well as allowing the introduction of a number of management controls and more detailed reporting.
The Fleet Alliance Fuel Card, provided in conjunction with leading network supplier, Allstar, is accepted at over 7,700 major filling stations across the UK and can play a crucial role in quantifying and controlling fuel costs.
There are a number of other significant benefits, too. For example, due to its comprehensive national coverage, the Fleet Alliance Fuel Card reduces time drivers spend trying to find a particular branded fuel outlet, thus saving both time and fuel.
Drivers also have access to and can be directed to the cheapest fuel sites, typically supermarkets, but sometimes branded stations, through the card.
A Fleet Alliance Fuel Card also allows vital information to be fed back to the fleet manager via management reports which measure fuel spend by several parameters, including driver details, price, location and current mileage, and which can be integrated within existing fleet management systems.
This allows managers to identify areas where savings can be made, for example by avoiding motorway service stations, using cheaper filling stations, or by highlighting the use of expensive products, such as super unleaded, by individual drivers or groups of drivers.
For fleet managers, consolidated invoicing eases the administrative burden associated with accounting for VAT. The fuel card invoices are accepted by HMRC as VAT documents, removing the need for drivers to keep fuel receipts and the accounts department to process them.
The use of the fuel card also limits purchases that are expressly not allowed. The driver cannot buy goods with the card other than those products specified on the card, typically fuel and oil, thus eliminating the risk of fraud.
To find out how Fleet Alliance Fuel can help you manage your fuel costs more efficiently, please visit our fuel page.