DRIVERS are facing relentless rises in the price of petrol and diesel on Scottish forecourts with fuel costs hitting an eight year high.
In the past year – Scots drivers have seen the average cost of a 55 litre tank of unleaded fuel rise by nearly £12 from £62.77 to £74.12.
The price of a tank full of diesel has gone up by nearly £11 from £64.80 in July 2020 to £75.37 now, according to new RAC figures.
The rise is believed to be linked to the fact that demand for oil has outstripped supply as Covid restrictions ease.
In July, last year the price of a barrel of Brent crude, which is the global benchmark for oil, was down around 30% in the year having been at around $43 per barrel.
That was after the price feel from $70 per barrel before the pandemic struck in January, 2020 to an 18-year-low of $15.98 per barrel in April.
The price has since recovered to pre-pandemic prices and was at $73.49 a barrel yesterday (Tuesday).
The RAC has said that drivers should continue to visit supermarkets to find the best value fuel this summer.
The prices of a litre of petrol in the UK is around 3p cheaper compared to the average.
It comes as schools across the UK, including England and Wales have broken up and many households are travelling to holiday destinations within the UK.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Prices really are only going one way at the moment – and that’s not the way drivers want to see them going. With a second summer staycation in full swing, it’s proving to be a particularly costly one for many families who are using their cars to holiday here in the UK. With so many people depending on their vehicles, there’s really nothing drivers can do to escape the high prices, and our best advice is for them to drive as economically as possible in order to try to make their money go further.
“Right now it’s hard to see what it will take for prices to start falling again. While we’re not past the pandemic by any means, demand for oil is likely to continue to increase as economic activity picks up again, and this is likely to have the effect of pushing up wholesale fuel prices, costs which retailers are bound to pass on at the pumps. Unless major oil producing nations decide a new strategy to increase output, we could very well see forecourt prices going even higher towards the end of the summer.
“If there is any good news at all, it is that prices would need to rise significantly further – by a further 3p – to reach the highest prices we saw in 2013. But that’s no comfort for the millions of drivers who are faced with paying so much more for fuel than they have done in many years.
“Drivers planning to change their vehicles in the coming months would do well to consider an electric model, where running costs are so much lower. Even upfront costs are now become much more affordable.”
According to the RAC, a litre of unleaded fuel rose by over 20p in the year to July, 31 from an average of 114.13p to 134.76p. And a litre of diesel rose by nearly 20p a litre from 117.81p to 137.04.
Another 3.25p and 2.8p were added to a litre of unleaded and diesel fuel in July alone according to the RAC which pointed out that there was little overall change in the oil price from the start to the end of July.
Across the UK, petrol prices have risen for nine straight months.
This was the most expensive July to fill up with unleaded since 2013 and for diesel since 2014.
The RAC has said the school holidays were expected to lead to “unprecedented levels of traffic”.
An RAC survey of 2,500 drivers found large numbers had booked breaks in the West Country, Scotland, Yorkshire, the Lake District and East Anglia.
More than half said they were headed more than 150 miles from home, and a third who had holidayed in the UK last year said this year they would be driving further.
Meanwhile new UK car registrations in June grew 28% year-on-year.
A total of 186,128 new cars were registered across the country last month, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
But the industry body says this performance is “artificially lifted” due to it being in comparison to June 2020, when the UK was still emerging from the first lockdown and showrooms had only just opened.
Monthly registrations were actually down 16.4% compared with the 10-year June average, while year-to-date sales are 26.8% below the decade-long average.
The SMMT says the market has been squeezed by the global shortage of semiconductor chips, which is limiting supply.
Citizens Advice Scotland fair markets spokesman Kate Morrison said: “Consumers are facing higher prices and reduced incomes in the second half of this year. Restrictions easing and more commuting by car could make this situation worse for people.
“There is also the broader issue of climate change, with volatile fossil fuel prices leading to higher costs for consumers. Decarbonising transport will be essential if we are to reach ambitious targets around net zero emissions, but people already facing a cost of living crisis will understandably need some convincing about making personal changes like moving towards an electric car, especially given the fear of higher up front and ongoing costs.”