UK motorists are preparing to face a rise in fuel bills once more. Prices have been under a pound per litre in many regions since Autumn 2015, but now the average cost has risen for the first time in around 9 months. This will come as a further blow to motorists who have already seen a rise in insurance policy costs this year thanks to higher levels of insurance premium tax.
Oil prices have hit 40 US dollars a barrel for the first time since late 2015, and this has seen an increase of an average of 3.4 pence per litre for unleaded petrol and 3.7 pence per litre for diesel. This means that a motorist filling up with 50 litres of fuel will now be worse off by between £1.70 and £1.85 per tank. Interestingly, wholesale prices are actually only up by about 1.5 pence per litre, meaning that forecourt owners are passing on a higher cost to the motorist in a bid to squeeze a bigger profit margin from fuel sales.
Prices are of course still substantially lower than the corresponding period four years ago when both petrol and diesel prices were at an all-time high, approaching 150 pence per litre across the UK.
However, the relatively low prices in the past 12 months means that any rise is sure to be of concern to both private consumers and the motor trade. It is however another boost for supporters and manufacturers of greener cars, and for the ailing UK government, which has pledged to see a far higher percentage of alternative fuels and hybrid technologies included in new cars by the end of the decade.
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On the positive side, motorists hoping to reduce their fuel costs are seeing more efficient new and used cars entering the market, and even the supercar market is getting in on the act, with the new BMW i8 hybrid sports car promising economy figures in excess of 130 miles per gallon!
If oil and fuel prices continue to move back upwards, there’ll once again be an upturn in the amount of green cars taken out.
Industry insiders predict that the cost of a barrel of oil is likely to level out in the region of 35-55 dollars, meaning that we could continue to see short-term fluctuations in both wholesale fuel prices and in the cost of filling up our cars.
With fuel costs currently hovering just over a pound a litre and oil at 40 dollars per barrel, there may still be further rises on the horizon.