Price gap between petrol and diesel rises to a record 17p a litre

Price gap between petrol and diesel rises to a record 17p a litre
The biggest gap between petrol and diesel pump prices since at least 2000 has emerged this week, analysis of RAC Fuel Watch data has revealed.

Diesel is now 17p a litre more expensive than petrol at an average of 180.22p while petrol is selling for an average of 162.96p across the UK.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “While average prices of both petrol and diesel have dropped considerably from the all-time highs of the summer, diesel is now a record 17p a litre more expensive than unleaded.

“The gap between the two fuels is normally around 4p a litre but this has widened since Russia invaded Ukraine. Prior to this, diesel had only ever been as much as 11p dearer than petrol back in March 2020. Looking at the two fuels on the wholesale market, the gap is currently 20p a litre but has been as high as 27p at the end of August this year.

“Despite this, the gap at the pumps in the following fortnight – the time it generally takes for price changes on the wholesale market to be fully reflected on the UK’s forecourts – only averaged 14p.”

However, it is not just the Russian invasion of Ukraine that has been the driving force behind the record price gap.

Williams continued: “Several factors are combining to make diesel more expensive. While the EU is not set to ban Russian diesel imports until February 2023, the UK has already done so. This is significant as we used to import a third of our diesel from Russia.

“In addition, European demand for gas oil – red diesel – tends to go up at this time of year as it is commonly used for heating. And this is greater this autumn as Europe is looking to lessen its reliance on gas and, as a result, is boosting its diesel supplies to get through the winter.

“This all means it’s continuing to be a tough time to be a diesel driver. Fortunately, the average price is now almost 20p a litre less than it was at its high of 199.09p in late June. But with the pound recently dropping to record lows against the dollar all we would need is for the price of oil to start rising from its current level of around $90 a barrel to cause both diesel and petrol prices to climb back up again.

“Diesel has occasionally been sold for less than petrol with the biggest gap being 3p in March 2020 when petrol averaged 114p and diesel 111p.”

The table below highlights the changes in prices over the last month.

DateAverage Unleaded PriceAverage Diesel Price

With the news that the price for a litre of petrol and diesel has hit a record 17p a litre, it is important for those diesel drivers to try and save fuel.

For the latest prices for petrol and diesel, visit RAC Fuel Watch.

What do you make of today’s news? What can be done to tackle this issue? Leave your comment below.

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