Fuel prices rose to their highest point in three years during December, according to data from the RAC.
A second consecutive month of price hikes saw the average litre of unleaded hit 121.11p at the end of last month – the highest level since December 2014. Diesel prices have also risen, hitting 123.46p per litre at the end of the year – an increase of 0.4p on the average price at the beginning of December.
Fuel prices have gradually been climbing since July, when petrol cost 114.33p per litre and diesel cost just over 115p per litre. As a result, the average cost of filling a typical tank with diesel is now £4.64 more expensive than it was in the summer. However, despite a steady rise in prices over the latter stages of 2017, fuel prices are still far below their record highs of April 2012, when average petrol and diesel prices peaked at 142p and 148p per litre respectively.
The RAC said the rises were down to increasing oil prices, which hit their highest point in more than two-and-a-half years during December. Motorists in the north-east of England were hit hardest by the increases in the cost of unleaded, with petrol prices rising by almost 1p per litre, while those in London saw diesel rise by a similar amount.
Northern Irish drivers, however, will have reason to be cheerful as they ended the year with the cheapest fuel in the country. RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘Sadly, December was the month oil reached its highest point for over two and a half years – something that motorists are now feeling the effect of at the pumps.’
Williams also warned drivers that the price rises were likely to continue into 2018, as the oil-producing and exporting countries (OPEC) cut production in a bid to increase oil prices.
‘Unfortunately, the good times of lower cost fuel appear to be over and it’s probably now far more likely that we will see them going up as OPEC’s oil production cuts are starting to have the desired effect of reducing the global oil glut and pushing the barrel price higher.’