UK diesel and petrol prices hit an all-time high

  • Diesel prices are the highest they've ever been
  • Both petrol and diesel have overtaken previous records
  • Price inflation won't ease off any time soon

Petrol prices are at a record high

The upward march of fuel prices is continuing to cause misery for UK drivers. Following the recent announcement that the cost of petrol hit a record high, the cost of diesel has followed and it's now become the most expensive it's ever been.

The average price of diesel is 147.9p per litre and is now 30p more than it cost in January 2021. Petrol has also broken previous records, and now stands at 144.4p per litre. These record highs have not been caused by recent fuel shortages, but through the rising costs of crude oil. They hit the average driver hard – the cost to fill up your family car with 55 litres of diesel now comes in at £81.

The effects of this will affect business and logistics hard, with goods and services bearing the costs of more expensive diesel, as most vans in the UK are fuelled from the black pump.

The price of crude oil is $86.09 (£62.96) a barrel, and is closing in on record highs of more than $120 (£87.76) in 2012. The upshot is that if crude oil rises to those levels, they will be reflected in even higher prices, causing more pain for drivers who are already seeing their budgets stretched.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: 'This is truly a dark day for drivers, and one which we hoped we wouldn't see again after the high prices of April 2012. This will hurt many household budgets and no doubt have knock-on implications for the wider economy.'

He continued: 'Even though many people aren't driving quite as much as they have in the past due to the pandemic, drivers tell us they are more reliant on their cars now than they have been in years, and many simply don't have a choice but to drive. There's a risk those on lower incomes who have to drive to work will seriously struggle to find the extra money for the petrol they so badly need.'

What this means for you

The last time we had high fuel prices like this, government or market intervention resulted in them dropping sharply after sustained growth. However in this case, the situation is unlikely to improve soon, as the cost of crude oil is set to continue going up until at least the end of 2021.

In the UK, government-levied taxes make up 57% of the average retail price for a litre of petrol, according to the RAC, and the prospect of the government dropping fuel duty looks remote.

What this means for you is that you're going to be facing increased fuel bills in the short-to-medium term. Driving more economically will alleviate the pain somewhat, or if you're looking to change your car, look more closely at the fuel consumption figures – or even consider switching to an electric car, which are cheaper for running costs in terms of Miles Per Pound.

For all the latest advice, news and finance deals, sign up to the Parkers newsletter here.

Further reading

>> Car advice on Parkers

>> Why your next car might be bought on an app

>> Find out how much your car is worth with Parkers

It costs £15 more to fill up an average family car than it did a year ago