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Fuel prices have reached a four-year low caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

According to the data from RAC Fuel Watch, the cost of filling up a car with unleaded petrol has dropped to its lowest levels since 2016, with the average price of a litre of petrol falling by 4.15p, from 113.1p to 108.95p.

That means the cost of filling a 55-litre family hatchback has dropped from just over £62 to just under £60. The cost of diesel has also dropped by 3p from 117.5p to 115.54p, meaning it now costs £63 for a car with a similar sized tank, rather than £64.63.

Last month, the cost of oil reached its lowest in 21 years in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. While it may come as good news for some motorists, the lockdown is also the reason prices aren’t expected to drop considerably, with retailers looking to increase margins as a result of the reduced demand.

However, there is scope for prices to drop by a further 12p per litre, meaning unleaded could drop to under a pound at 96p per litre, with diesel falling to 102p per litre.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams saiid: “The impact of the coronavirus is being felt everywhere – from the steep falls in demand for oil right across the globe, right down to the behaviours of the UK’s millions of drivers who have seen their car use – and their need to fill up – fall away dramatically since the lockdown began.

“While it might seem odd that fuel price falls stalled last month despite wholesale prices coming down yet further, it is explained by the simple fact that UK fuel retailers will have been selling a fraction of what they would normally have sold in the last six weeks.

“We expect that only an easing of lockdown restrictions by the UK Government will trigger forecourts into changing their prices significantly, as this would effectively be a signal to millions that they can start making different types of journeys again by car, not just those currently deemed ‘essential’.

“As and when they do, drivers could be in line for even cheaper fill-ups in the coming months if wholesale prices remain suppressed, but that remains a big ‘if’ because as soon as more of us start driving the price of oil could begin to increase.”

Ted Welford

By

May 6, 2020

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