This Christmas is likely to be the most expensive ever on the roads with petrol and diesel both at record highs for the festive period.
In the lead-up to Christmas, petrol is currently was being sold for an average of 152.96p a litre which is 7p more than it was on 22 December 2021 (145.66p). Diesel, however, is a shocking 27p more expensive on the nation’s forecourts than it was a year ago (148.95p) at 175.75p, which was previously the most expensive Christmas ever for drivers.
A tank of petrol for a family driving to see family and friends now costs nearly £4 more at £84 than it did last Christmas (£80). For those travelling in diesel cars it’s even worse with a fill-up now costing nearly £97 – almost £15 more than last year (£82).
But disturbingly, this Christmas should not be hurting drivers’ pockets as much as it is as the wholesale price of petrol has now fallen to just 106p a litre – the same price it was this time last year. And even more worryingly, this year’s price includes the Government’s 5p fuel duty discount which was introduced in March to ease the pain of rising fuel prices caused by Russia invading Ukraine. The wholesale price of diesel has dropped to 126p a litre which is only 14p more expensive than just before last Christmas (112p).
The RAC calculates that the average price of petrol should be around 138p – 15p cheaper than it actually is, and that diesel should be around 160p a litre – 13p cheaper than it is now.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “With the cost-of-living crisis making this one of the toughest Christmases on record, it is even more galling to know drivers are being heartlessly overcharged for fuel making this the most expensive ever festive getaway on the roads.
“The big four supermarkets, which dominate UK fuel retailing, have robustly refused to significantly lower their forecourt prices to reflect what’s happened with the substantial reduction in the price of wholesale fuel that they are enjoying.
“We now have a bizarre situation where many smaller independent retailers are charging far less for their fuel than the supermarkets. The trouble is after years of the supermarkets being the cheapest place to fill up many drivers automatically assume this is still the case and may be losing out as a result.
“We urge the supermarkets to properly cut their petrol and diesel prices to give drivers the Christmas present they deserve. Sadly though, having seen a similar situation last year where the biggest retailers failed to pass on much lower wholesale costs, we’re not holding out much hope they will do the right thing this year. We suspect they’re just going to try to tough out all our calls for price cuts in the hope the price of oil will go back up in the new year.
“The only consolation for drivers is that both petrol and diesel have fallen a long way from their summer highs of 191.5p for unleaded and 199.09p for diesel.”