Drivers have endured one of the worst months for petrol prices in 18 years, new data has revealed.

During May, up to 6 pence a litre was added to the price of petrol, taking the cost of filling an average 55-litre tank to £71.18 – a hike of £3.29, or 4.8%.

The data, compiled by RAC Fuel Watch, which started tracking prices in January 2000, also found that the average prices of diesel and petrol had gone up every single day since April 22 – the longest consecutive price increase since March 2015.

The four biggest supermarkets raised petrol by 5.49p a litre and diesel by 5.88p during May, with fuel prices sent skyward as a result of an increase in the price of oil, coupled with the weakening of the pound against the dollar.

The price of oil broke through the $80-a-barrel mark on two occasions during May – something not seen since November 2014.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “May was a hellish month for motorists. Sadly, they have been besieged by pump price rises for three months, with nearly 9p a litre being added to petrol since the beginning of March.

“The rising oil price together with a weaker pound is a punitive combination for anyone that drives regularly. For many people there is little alternative to the car for the majority of journeys they have to make, so it is therefore very difficult to avoid feeling the pinch of rising pump prices.

“In the last week of May the oil price cooled a little to $76 a barrel, which is slightly better news for motorists as the RAC’s two-week forecast is currently showing that average prices may even reduce by a penny or so. While this isn’t much, and could easily change in response to oil trading this week, it is at least a sign that the constant rise in forecourt prices may have stopped for the time being.”

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