However, April’s respite could be short-lived as experts warn that changes in the global market could lead to further gains in the coming weeks.
Petrol and diesel prices peaked at new record highs in late March, with petrol reaching 167.3 pence per liter on March 22 and diesel reaching 179.9 pa the following day. They then fell in the last days of March and remained largely static throughout April.
According to the latest data from the RAC Fuel Watch Service, petrol prices are now 4.5 pence per liter cheaper than when they peaked on March 22. However, most of this reduction came at the end of March, with prices at the end of April just 0.5 pence cheaper than at the start of the month.
Diesel was even less changed, down 2.5 pence from March 23, but with a mere change of 0.13 pence between April 1 and April 30.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said while April prices were a respite for drivers, retailers had hurt customers by refusing to pass on wholesale savings made during the month.
He also warned that uncertainty in global markets and a weakening exchange rate could lead to further rises in the coming weeks.
Wholesale oil prices ended April slightly higher than at the start of the month, but the value of the pound slipped against the dollar, in which fuel is traded, meaning costs for UK retailers have increases.
Mr Williams said: “Although the price of oil has cooled considerably, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the market, which is causing prices to rise sharply. This, coupled with the deteriorating exchange rate, is not good for motorists and the news that the EU plans to phase out Russian oil will likely drive up the price per barrel.
“However, retailers should have really passed on the savings they enjoyed when wholesale prices were lower earlier in April; Unfortunately for the drivers, that didn’t happen. Instead, the biggest distributors, who buy most often, held on, protecting themselves from future rises. “
He added that retailer profit margins were up to 4 pence per liter higher in April than in March.
The AA’s analysis found wholesale petrol prices rose by 5p a liter last week and its fuel spokesman Luke Bosdet said drivers should ‘prepare’ for the increases at the pump in the coming weeks.
Fuel prices have been volatile for months as the war in Ukraine and concerns over oil supplies affected markets, which were already facing supply issues as global demand soared following of the pandemic.
Petrol is now 32p per liter more than a year ago, and diesel 47p more. According to RAC figures, the ‘big four’ supermarkets remain the cheapest places to refuel, with Asda offering the lowest prices on petrol and diesel.
The latest figures come as oil giant Shell reported record profits of £7.2bn in the first three months of 2022.
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This notice was published: 2022-05-05 09:25:13