Fleet News

Coronavirus fears drive diesel pump prices down

Row of fuel pumps

Diesel drivers enjoyed the 11th biggest monthly drop in pump prices since 2000, with the price of the fuel falling 4p per litre (ppl) in February, according to RAC Fuel Watch data. 

Petrol fell by 3p (2.93p) a litre to 124.02p – its 19th biggest drop in a month. Diesel was down by 4.24p to 127.04ppl, which means the cost of filling up a 55-litre family car with diesel is £2.33 cheaper at £69.87. For petrol it is £1.61p less than it was in January at £68.21.

Asda is leading the way among the big four supermarket fuel retailers by selling petrol for 116.78ppl – 3.5p lower than it was at the start of February and 3.5p cheaper than its closest competitor.

It also reduced diesel by 5.9p to 118.8ppl which makes it 4p cheaper than its nearest rival.

The average price charged for unleaded between all supermarket sites is 119.19ppl and 121.62ppl for diesel – around 5p less than the UK average prices.

The pump price reductions have been driven by a $10 slump in the price of a barrel of oil from a high of $60.28 on 20 February to $50.41 by the close of the month.

Over the course of the whole month though the reduction was far smaller at just $3, with a barrel having started February at $53.48.

As a result, the wholesale price of unleaded dropped to below 90p a litre before delivery, retailer margin and VAT.

The last time a price as low as this was seen was at the end of January 2019 which led to an average UK pump price of around 119ppl – 5p less than the current average.

The diesel wholesale price finished February at 92ppl – the last time this was recorded was at the end of August 2017 which also translated to a forecourt price of around 119ppl – 8ppl lower than the current UK average price for diesel.

RAC is calling on retailers to keep cutting their pump prices so drivers are charged a fair price which properly reflects the large reductions on the wholesale market.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “While it is good drivers are benefitting from lower forecourt prices, in reality the wholesale price is such that the big four supermarkets, which dominate UK fuel retailing, should cut their prices again.

“At the moment both fuels are 6p a litre too expensive which means for petrol we should really be seeing a UK average of 118p.

“Unfortunately, we don’t think diesel will come down to the 2017 price of 119p a litre due to wholesale prices only dropping to 92p a litre briefly as a result of oil suffering its biggest weekly decline in more than four years.”

Williams says that the oil price has slumped due to the spread of the coronavirus prompting fears of slower global demand, which may well lead to a move from oil producer group OPEC and its allies to restrict production when they stage an extraordinary meeting in Vienna on Friday (March 6).

“If they decide to take action to prop up the barrel price it would very likely put an end to falling forecourt fuel prices,” said Williams.

Regional fuel price variation

Regional average unleaded pump prices

Unleaded

03/02/2020

27/02/2020

Change

UK average

126.95

124.02

-2.93

North East

125.63

122.38

-3.25

Yorkshire And The Humber

126.42

123.37

-3.05

West Midlands

127.21

124.17

-3.04

East Midlands

127.33

124.32

-3.01

Scotland

126.16

123.15

-3.01

Wales

125.81

122.83

-2.98

South East

128.06

125.13

-2.93

North West

126.49

123.56

-2.93

East

127.33

124.55

-2.78

London

127.73

125.00

-2.73

South West

126.78

124.06

-2.72

Northern Ireland

124.45

122.00

-2.45

Regional average diesel pump prices

Diesel

03/02/2020

27/02/2020

Change

UK average

131.28

127.04

-4.24

North East

129.85

125.29

-4.56

Wales

130.70

126.26

-4.44

North West

130.75

126.37

-4.38

East

132.02

127.67

-4.35

Scotland

130.87

126.61

-4.26

Yorkshire And The Humber

130.70

126.48

-4.22

East Midlands

131.54

127.33

-4.21

South East

132.51

128.31

-4.20

West Midlands

131.39

127.22

-4.17

South West

131.45

127.37

-4.08

London

131.69

127.68

-4.01

Northern Ireland

128.34

124.59

-3.75

 

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