The cost of petrol rose last month for the first time since July 2015 and is expected to rise again, ending the recent period of lower fuel prices enjoyed by motorists.
The latest fuel report by the RAC showed that there has been a 3.4p a litre rise in average petrol pump prices to £1.05, thought to be the result of oil reaching $40 (£28) a barrel for the first time since early December 2015.
This adds £1.84 to the cost of filling up a car with a 55-litre tank, according to the RAC, which also predicts petrol could rise by between 2p and 4p per litre in the next two weeks despite fuel duty being frozen in the government's latest budget.
The increase in the cost at the pump has been described as “lenient” by the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI). While the wholesale cost of fuel has gone up by around 7p per litre, that has only translated to this 3.4p rise for drivers, with independent retailers left to cover the loss, according to the RMI.
“This lenient increase indicates that there will be an incoming rise which could see petrol reach £1.10 per litre,” said Brian Madderson, a director of the RMI.
Diesel prices increased by 3.7p per litre to £1.05, despite wholesale prices rising by only 1.5p per litre, adding £2 to a fill-up of a 55-litre tank.
Before this rise, petrol and diesel prices were at their lowest points since 2009, due to the cost of oil being in sharp decline since January.
However, since the low of $26 (£18) a barrel, the cost has started to increase, while the pound has weakened against the dollar. If this continues, the RAC says wholesale costs will rise further, leading to pump price increases.
Simon Williams, the RAC’s fuel spokesman, said: “The good times for motorists enjoying lower fuel prices had to come to an end at some point, but unfortunately it’s happened with a bit more of a bump than motorists were probably expecting.
“It looks as though we are heading towards a new norm of the oil price fluctuating between lower and upper limits of $35 and $55 a barrel.
“This means that motorists should hopefully not see the eye-watering prices they were paying at the pumps in April 2012, when the average price of petrol was £1.42 per litre and diesel was close to £1.50 per litre."