Petrol prices: UK pumps hit all-time high

Published: 26 October 2021

► Petrol prices are at their highest ever
► Diesel is set to overtake previous records
► It won’t get better for a while

The price of petrol is higher than ever, and it comes after a steady rise beginning originally in January 2021. The findings come from RAC’s Fuel Watch, a study which collects data from across the UK, including retail, wholesale and supermarket pumps. 

The average prices for fuel can be found below:

  • Unleaded 142.9p per litre
  • Diesel is 146.5p per litre

What’s caused it?

The rises haven’t been caused by the recent fuel supply issues – but they’ve certainly not helped. The price of crude oil directly linked; at $86.09 a barrel, following on from a rise last week, it’s expected to soon match a high of $120 in 2012. And the more expensive crude oil is, the more expensive diesel and petrol become. 

What’s the impact?

The price of unleaded has risen sharply since October 2020 by 28p – adding around £15 to a full 55-litre tank of a family car. 

'This is truly a dark day for drivers, and one which we hoped we wouldn't see again after the high prices of April 2012,’ said RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams. ‘This will hurt many household budgets and no doubt have knock-on implications for the wider economy.'

'Even though many people aren't driving quite as much as they have in the past due to the pandemic, drivers tell us they are more reliant on their cars now than they have been in years, and many simply don't have a choice but to drive. There's a risk those on lower incomes who have to drive to work will seriously struggle to find the extra money for the petrol they so badly need.'

What can you do right now?

Driving more economically will alleviate the pain somewhat, as will moving to a more economical ICE or hybrid car. If your usage suits, it may even be worth switching to an electric car, which have cheaper running costs.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast