Fuel price fall hits a standstill – but prices are still uneven across the country

Close up of petrol and diesel pumps at a petrol station

The price of fuel stopped falling in January 2024

Fuel prices finally stabilised in January after falling for three months, but price analysis reveals a ‘blatantly wrong’ 14p difference between the highest and lowest-priced supermarket petrol and diesel.  

What were the prices in January? 

According to RAC Fuel Watch, the average price of a litre of petrol stayed at 140.5p in January, while the average price of a litre of diesel stayed at 148.5p, making the price of a full tank £77.24 and £81.73 respectively.  

However, on average, petrol was 4.2p cheaper in Northern Ireland where diesel was also 3.5p cheaper, demonstrating uneven pricing across the country.  

An independent forecourt in Grindley Brook, Shropshire is only charging 133.9p per litre for petrol, nearly 7p less than the UK average. This has forced nearby forecourts to start pricing competitively, dropping the price of their petrol to 136.9p per litre.  

What about the Big Four? 

There are four big supermarkets that dominate the UK fuel retail market; Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda. The cheapest litre of petrol found by the RAC was sold by Sainsbury’s for 131.9p in Oxfordshire, while the most expensive was Morrisons for 145.p in Cornwall, a significant 14p difference.  

The average difference between a litre of petrol at the four supermarkets was nearly 12p (11.6p). 

Petrol  Average  Min  Max  Spread 
Asda  138.0p  132.7p  144.9p  12.2p 
Morrisons  137.6p  132.7p  145.9p  13.2p 
Sainsbury’s  138.1p  131.9p  144.9p  13.0p 
Tesco  138.2p  134.9p  142.9p  8.0p 
Whole UK  138.0p  131.9p  145.9p  14.0p 

When it comes to diesel there was a spread of more than 14p between Sainsbury’s least and most expensive forecourts, with Cwmbran in Wales charging 139.9p per litre and Frome in Somerset charging 153.9p per litre.  

The average difference across the supermarkets was just over 11p (11.3p). 

Diesel  Average  Min  Max  Spread 
Asda  146.5p  141.7p  153.7p  12.0p 
Morrisons  146.0p  141.7p  151.9p  10.2p 
Sainsbury’s  146.4p  139.9p  153.9p  14.0p 
Tesco  146.5p  141.9p  150.9p  9.0p 
Whole UK  146.4p  139.9p  153.9p  14.0p 

Wholesale prices of petrol and diesel increased by 3p and 4p respectively in January after the price of wholesale oil rose by more than $80 for the first time since November. 

Simon Williams, an RAC fuel spokesperson said: “It is still concerning to see that fuel remains considerably cheaper in Northern Ireland and that the supermarkets are charging wildly different prices for identical petrol and diesel at different locations around the UK.” 

“The data retailers are voluntarily providing to the Competition and Markets Authority has shed a whole new light on the pump price postcode lottery. It seems blatantly wrong to us that the very same petrol or diesel can vary in price by as much as 14p a litre, depending on where drivers are filling up. 

If you want to know how to find the cheapest fuel in your area, check out our blog on the RAC Fuel Finder app. 

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