Petrol prices: pump prices suffer biggest daily jump in 17 years

Published: 08 June 2022 Updated: 08 June 2022

► Petrol and diesel prices are at their highest ever
► Biggest daily price rise in 17 years in June 2022
► Average family car now tops £100 to fill

The cost of petrol in the UK has suffered its biggest daily jump in 17 years after pump prices leapt 2p per litre on 7 June 2022.

Motoring body the RAC warned that the average family car now costs £99.40 to refuel – and that could exceed £100 later this week. War in Ukraine and supply issues continue to push the cost of fuel ever closer to £2 per litre, and often beyond in the most expensive forecourts.

Nationwide, the average cost of a litre of unleaded is now £1.81, with diesel spiralling to £1.87 – and there are numerous tales on social media of costs passing the two pound barrier. More worrying than that, economists are predicting that the rises will continue if an EU-wide ban on Russian oil and gas comes into force.

Supply chains are reeling after the invasion of Ukraine, with European energy costs spiking as oil and gas from Russia come under pressure. 

UK fuel prices: they’re likely to get worse before they get better

The RAC’s fuel spokesperson, Simon Williams, said: ‘With analysts predicting that oil will average $135 a barrel for the rest of this year drivers need to brace themselves for average fuel prices rocketing to £2 a litre which would mean a fill-up would rise to an unbelievable £110.

‘The oil price is rising due to increased demand for fuel across the world as China eases its Covid restrictions and America and Europe go into the peak summer driving season. All this combined with a weaker pound at $1.2 means wholesale fuel costs more for retailers to buy. The wholesale price of diesel is fast approaching 160p a litre which, when you add 7p retailer margin and 20% VAT, would take the pump price over the £2 mark.

‘We strongly urge the Government to take drastic action to help soften the impact for drivers from these never-before-seen pump prices.’

UK petrol prices hit record high

Why are fuel prices so high in 2022?

A vicious combination of war in Ukraine, Brexit and the aftermath of the global pandemic pushed the cost of a barrel of Brent crude to a 14-year high of $139 a barrel in early March. It’s barely any cheaper now.

The RAC’s Williams added: ‘With inflation hitting household budgets on all sides the fact that transport is routinely the single biggest area of household expenditure, according to Government statistics, will make forecourt price hikes particularly hard because for most households those transport costs are associated with running a car.

‘While higher pump prices may make more people consider switching to electric cars that’s not a realistic overnight fix. In the short term the best most of us can do is look for ways to drive less, perhaps by sharing trips, perhaps by building on two years of covid restrictions to work from home, and when we do drive to go easy on the throttle.’

UK petrol prices: at a record high

The May 2022 peak comes after years of sustained increases, charted by the RAC’s Fuel Watch, a study which collects data from across the UK (below), including retail, wholesale and supermarket pumps.

What can you do right now?

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

Best practice to save fuel is to slow down, go easy on the throttle, remove any roofracks and towbars, turn the air-con off and make sure your windows are shut. Hypermiling may become a thing, as drivers seek to travel the maximum distance on every drop of fuel.

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By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes