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Petrol prices rise 10p per litre, with ‘pump price gulf’ creating regional inequality

The price of fuel has risen by an average of £5.50 per tank so far in 2024 with, on average, prices 5p per litre cheaper in Northern Ireland

Petrol pump

Petrol prices rose once again last month, with the cost of fuel now, on average, 10 pence per litre more expensive than at the beginning of 2024. That’s the equivalent of £5.50 extra per tank of fuel, with the average car now costing well over £80 to fill up.

Data from RAC Fuel Watch shows the average price of petrol rose by almost three pence last month to 149.95 pence per litre, bordering on the £1.50 per litre prices last seen in November last year. The cost of diesel is on the rise, too, with the black pump now rated two pence dearer for each unit of fuel than last month, with an average price of 157.76 pence per litre.

High prices have once again been linked to what RAC spokesperson Simon Williams refers to as “massive [retailer] margins”. Only last month the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) released a statement noting high retailer margins, which had initially appeared to calm things down; the RAC reported that retailer margins were subsequently “squeezed” in March. 

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However, in April, margins have once again been on the increase, with the RAC stating that the average margin for diesel has shot up by six pence to 17.5p per litre. Retailer profit margins for petrol aren’t quite as lofty at nine-and-a-half pence per litre, but they are still above the long-term average of eight pence.

“Drivers are once again having to dig deep just to go about their daily lives,” Williams said. “Worryingly, the CMA’s warning shot about higher retailer margins at the end of March appears to have fallen on deaf ears, meaning drivers are once again being seriously overcharged for diesel.”

Regional fuel price gulf

The RAC has also raised concerns regarding price inequality when it comes to location; data shows that fuel prices in Northern Ireland are at least five pence cheaper per litre than the rest of the UK.

This so-called ‘pump price gulf’ is not limited to Northern Ireland as there’s also a significant difference in price between the most and least expensive locations of some major fuel retailers. For example, the difference between the cheapest and priciest BP locations is a staggering 30p. Things aren’t much different for supermarkets, either; the difference between the least and most expensive Asda fuel locations is reported to be as much as 36p per litre.

How much are you paying for fuel? Let us know in the comments section...

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Consumer reporter

Tom is Auto Express' Consumer reporter, meaning he spends his time investigating the stories that matter to all motorists - enthusiasts or otherwise. An ex-BBC journalist and Multimedia Journalism graduate, Tom previously wrote for partner sites Carbuyer and DrivingElectric and you may also spot him throwing away his dignity by filming videos for the Auto Express social media channels.

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