We have had peaks in petrol and diesel prices before – but will 2011 be the year when peak prices became the new normal?
At the end of 2011, the average price of a litre of unleaded petrol is 132.54p per litre – slightly below its year-long average of 133.83p, according to the AA.
That’s 14% (16.5p/litre) higher than in 2010, when unleaded averaged 117.36p/litre.
The figures for diesel are even worse – diesel is ending the year at an average price of 141.15p per litre, up from its year-long average of 139.17p.
That’s 16% (19.4p/litre) higher than in 2010, when diesel averaged 119.75p/litre.
Sustained high fuel prices are hitting less affluent drivers disproportionately hard.
The poorest 20% of households already pay almost twice as much of their income on fuel duties as the richest 20% (3.4% vs. 1.9%), according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
A recent AA survey has found that 18% of motorists would cut back on grocery spending if fuel prices reached 145p/litre for petrol and 150p/litre for diesel. A further 63% would cut back on car use and 3% would even be forced to give up their job because transport costs made it unaffordable.
How To Find The Cheapest Petrol and Diesel Prices
One of the problems in the UK is that petrol and diesel prices can vary so much between neighbouring towns and even between neighbouring filling stations. In my town, I can save 3p/litre by driving 500m – and I am sure you all know of similar examples where you live.
Fortunately, when it comes to comparing prices, the internet is our friend. Just as you compare prices and shop online for any major electrical purchase, you can also compare petrol and diesel prices in your area online and then plan your journeys to pass the cheapest filling stations.
To see what I mean, visit our Petrol Prices page and enter your location. The map will update with all the filling stations in the area and their most recently recorded prices.
Remember – if you find this useful then make sure you also update the prices yourself – the more people use it, the more accurate and useful it will be.