The price of petrol and diesel rose for the third month in a row – though figures suggest that they aren’t rapidly approaching pre-pandemic levels.

A litre of unleaded rose by half a penny in August to 114.88p, with diesel increasing by a third of a penny to 118.47p. Despite the rise, both fuels are still 13p cheaper than they were at the end of January.

Supermarkets did increase their prices slightly, with petrol being bumped up by a third of a penny to 109.55p and diesel by over half a penny to 114.17p. It means that a litre of unleaded at the supermarket is more than 5p cheaper than the UK average, while diesel is 4.3p cheaper.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Even though pump prices have risen for three consecutive months, August’s increase was slight, sparing drivers any nasty shocks when they went to fill up. We had feared prices might rise more quickly as people started driving more after the lockdown but so far petrol has only gone up 9p a litre from its low of just under 106p in May which, it’s important to remember, is still 13p a litre less than it was in January.

“It was good news for drivers that August didn’t see the price of fuel jump, especially as so many people were ‘staycationing’. It was also positive that motorway fill-ups remained more reasonably priced than they have been in the past with service station retailers apparently not taking as much margin as they have in the past.”

Asda was the lowest cost supermarket petrol retailer at the start of the month, though by the end of August Morrisons had edged lower at 109.24p compared to Asda’s 109.43p. Asda remained cheaper than Morrisons when it came to diesel, though.

Motorway service stations went against the grain, with fuel prices staying the same in August. A litre of unleaded cost 124.03p a litre, while diesel set back drivers 129.33p a litre. Currently, filling up at motorway services is 10p more expensive than the UK average – considerably lower than in January when the gap stood at 20p a litre.

Williams added: “The short-term outlook for pump prices generally does not appear ominous for UK drivers despite a blip in the oil price at the end of August. The cost of a barrel of oil rose dramatically due to fears of a hurricane affecting supplies in the Gulf of Mexico, but fortunately there was no adverse impact to production as the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical depression and refineries were spared massive flooding.

“Our pump price forecast for the next fortnight shows petrol should come down by a penny while diesel ought to fall by around 5p a litre if retailers play fair and reflect the downward movement in the wholesale price properly.”