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Skyrocketing Petrol Prices: A Never-Ending Upward Spiral Grips Motorists

Skyrocketing Petrol Prices: A Never-Ending Upward Spiral Grips Motorists

In our upcoming EcoReporter segment, we will be discussing the recent rise in petrol prices for the fourth consecutive month. According to the RAC, petrol prices increased by an average of 4.5p per litre in September, with unleaded petrol reaching £1.57 per litre. This rise has pushed the cost of filling a family car to over £86.

The RAC attributes the increased fuel costs to higher global oil prices but also claims that petrol is being “overpriced.” However, independent forecourts argue that they are not unjustifiably pricing petrol higher than necessary. The Petrol Retailers Association, representing 64% of UK forecourts, explains that margins are under pressure due to higher labor and energy costs, as well as reduced sales.

While the cost of living in the UK has slightly eased, with inflation falling to 6.7%, rising fuel prices for both petrol and diesel will put additional pressure on household finances. The RAC’s data for September shows that petrol rose by 4.5p per litre on average, while diesel increased by 8p per litre. Diesel prices have risen from £1.54 to £1.63 per litre since the start of last month.

Simon Williams, the spokesperson for the RAC, claims that petrol is currently overpriced by around 7p per litre. He highlights that in the last two weeks, the wholesale cost of diesel has become 10p per litre more expensive than petrol, yet the gap at the pumps is only 5p. Williams argues that if retailers were playing fair, petrol would be at least 7p cheaper, around £1.50 per litre.

Gordon Balmer, the executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, counters the RAC’s claims, stating that margins have inevitably increased due to higher running costs. He criticizes the RAC for attempting to incite public anger by suggesting otherwise.

The RAC spokesperson expresses concern over the higher retailer margins for petrol and refers to a previous investigation by the competition watchdog into supermarket fuel retailers. As a result of the investigation, some retailers agreed to establish a scheme allowing drivers to compare live fuel prices online, and the government plans to make this practice mandatory. The BBC reached out to Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, and Tesco, the four major fuel-selling supermarkets, for comment. Asda claims to remain the cheapest place for drivers to fill up, with unleaded petrol being 4.8p cheaper on average. Sainsbury’s welcomes greater pricing transparency in the fuel market and asserts that it consistently offers among the lowest fuel prices in every area it operates.

Fuel prices experienced a sharp increase during 2021 and the first half of 2022, driven by soaring oil prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, prices fell back in late 2022 and the first half of this year before the recent uptick. The latest rise is a result of Saudi Arabia and Russia, members of the OPEC+ group, deciding to reduce production in August. This reduction in production has led to higher oil prices, with Brent crude oil rising above $90 a barrel.

Additionally, the weaker value of sterling has made wholesale fuel, traded in US dollars, more expensive to buy in the UK. To save money on petrol and diesel, the RAC recommends watching your speed, as driving at 45-50mph is the most fuel-efficient speed. It also suggests switching off the air conditioning, as it can increase fuel consumption.

In our EcoReporter segment, we aim to present a 500-word commentary that is both search engine-friendly and engaging for environmentally-conscious individuals. Our coverage is appropriate for all audiences and avoids mature themes, offering a fresh and unique perspective on the topic.

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