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Petrol prices rise above 150p a litre for first time in five months

Petrol prices
AA figures are based on price data from the four biggest supermarkets and four main oil companies - Jose Sarmento Matos/Bloomberg

Petrol prices have surpassed 150p a litre on average for the first time in five months, according to the AA and RAC, in a blow to motorists.

Drivers also face diesel prices above 158p per litre, a level last reached in November, the breakdown companies said.

Petrol prices have now risen by 10p a litre since January, while diesel has risen by around 9p.

The RAC said the situation was even worse for drivers needing to fill up at motorway services, where petrol prices average 170.8p and diesel was 179.9p.

AA spokesman Luke Bosdet said: “Road fuel priced above 150p a litre grabs the attention of drivers and will lead some to re-tighten their belts on other spending.”

Fuel costs have climbed rapidly after recent tensions in the Middle East sent the price of Brent crude oil surging above $92 a barrel.

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Oil prices have since fallen back sharply to about $87 but there is a lag between rising wholesale prices and forecourt costs.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “In theory at least, this should mean prices at the pumps don’t rise much further, if at all – but so much depends on the margin [that] retailers decide to take.”

He added: “Higher margins always mean higher prices for drivers.”

The AA’s figures are based on petrol pump price data for Monday submitted to the competition regulator by the four biggest supermarkets and four of the main oil companies.

The data cover 2,909 forecourts – equivalent to about 60pc of the total across the UK.

The AA found that 28.1pc of forecourts were charging at least 150p a litre. A week ago, it was 23.8pc.

Its findings differ from government figures, which are taken from the prices charged by two supermarkets and four oil companies, and suggest average petrol prices stand at 149.2p a litre.

Rising fuel prices pose a potential risk to inflation and could derail hopes that the Bank of England will begin cutting interest rates this summer.

The Office for National Statistics blamed rising fuel prices for a smaller-than-expected fall in inflation in March, when it dropped from 3.4pc to 3.2pc.

Mr Bosdet said: “Inflation has been heading downwards at quite some speed but petrol’s rebound to 150p a litre leaves a big boulder in the road.

“Government data shows that for the fourth week petrol prices have been higher than at the same time a year ago. This last happened in February 2023.”

However, he added: “Five days of falling wholesale costs, with the value of oil coming off the boil, offers hope that pump prices may not get much worse in the short term.”