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Petrol price rise shock – can you avoid it?

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Aug 4, 2017

Motorists look set to be paying £5 more to fill up the average car after a deal to slash oil production.

Oil prices were up by 8.9% to $50.45 a barrel after the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), which produces around a third of the world's oil, agreed it would limit output.

This is the first time a deal has been struck between members for eight years.

Motorists have been warned that the reduction in output will inevitably hit the price of petrol at the pump, with further bad news added by another deal struck between Opec and non-Opec nations. 

The deals coupled with the weakness in sterling following the Brexit vote represents a double-hit to British drivers. Oil is priced in US dollars, so a weaker pound means the price in pounds goes up.

Petrol hit a low of £1.01 a litre back in February after oil fell to just $27 a barrel when Iran ramped up production after sanctions were lifted. 

Experts now forecast oil could rocket up to $60 a barrel. This could result in petrol hitting the £1.23 a litre mark, the highest price for two years. 

The AA says that a 9p a litre rise is now possible and this would add almost £5 to the cost of filling up an average family car.

On top of this, motorists actually use much more fuel in winter anyway, powering heating, lights and wipers.


Petrol price rise latest - Opec and non-Opec countries strike a deal

On the weekend of December 10 a deal was agreed between Opec and non-Opec countries, Russia, Mexico and Bahrain, to cut global output - further nudging up the cost of petrol for motorists. 

The AA warned that this would add a further 3p to the cost of a litre of fuel.

The price per litre in some parts of the UK is rising close to £1.20. 


Can you avoid the fuel price rises?

In the long term there is little the average motorist can do to beat the inevitable price rises.

But the pressure driving up wholesale prices will take a couple of weeks to filter through to prices at the pump, experts say.

So, clearly, filling up while prices are low is a good idea.

Otherwise, apart from monitoring pump prices to spot the best, motorists are really reduced to driving more efficiently and less often to reduce costs.

Get fuel efficient

If you’re thinking of getting a new car, consider fuel efficiency as the most important factor.

The difference between eco-cars with tiny engines and cars with gas-guzzling monster engines is staggering as manufacturers continually improve efficiency as they chase the ‘green pound’. 

Go electric

If you can afford it, think about going electric, or at least hybrid.

Right now, the best hybrids are still expensive, but prices are coming down. We’ll all probably be driving electric cars inside ten years anyway, so why not get ahead of the pack.

Drive less

Seriously, not only can you save money by walking or cycling, but you’ll get fitter too.

Drive more efficiently

Drive more efficiently – be a calmer and so much more efficient motorist. Accelerate more gently and brake less harshly. You’re your time and save money along the way.

Monitor fuel efficency

Simply knowing how much more fuel you use in heavy traffic, for example, or while driving around town with lots of gear changes and braking, can actually help you improve efficiency.

Make sure your car is properly serviced

Have your car properly serviced and tuned to its most efficient. Is it revving too high while idling, for example?

Correcting this can result in significant savings.

Reduce drag

After 30mph your car uses more power overcoming wind resistance than it does fighting rolling resistance. So, make your vehicle as aerodynamic as possible – remove roof boxes, for example – and reduce weight, by removing any unnecessary junk in the boot, for example.

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How would a rise in fuel prices affect you? Let us know in the comments section.


Last year 65% of customers didn't switch their car insurance to try and get a better deal.