The average price of petrol in the UK rose by 7p per litre in August, the fifth largest monthly increase in 23 years. Diesel prices also rose by 8p per litre, the sixth largest increase over the same period.
The RAC said the rise in pump prices was caused by an increase in the cost of oil, which has gone up by nearly 12 US dollars a barrel since the start of July. This is due to the producing group Opec+ reducing supply.
The wholesale cost of fuel – what retailers pay – has also gone up, and this has been passed on to drivers at forecourts.
Simon Williams, RAC fuel spokesman, said: “August was a big shock to drivers, as they had grown used to seeing far lower prices than last summer’s record highs.
“Seeing £4 or more go on to the cost of a tank in the space of just a few weeks from a pump price rise of 6-7p a litre is galling, particularly for those who drive lots of miles or run an older, less fuel-efficient car.”
He added: “While the increase is clearly bad news for drivers, it could have been far worse had the biggest retailers not let their inflated margins from earlier in the year return to more normal levels as wholesale fuel costs went up.
“All we can hope is that this move by many big retailers back to fairer forecourt pricing remains when wholesale costs go down again. Only time will tell.”
The RAC is calling on the government to take action to help drivers, such as cutting fuel duty or introducing a fuel price cap.