Profits for the petrol giants are creeping up while drivers pay a premium – despite oil prices nearing record lows.
This is according to new figures from the AA, which found that the gap between oil prices and the cost of wholesale petrol is now at its widest for five years.
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Fuel prices pushed up
And while pump prices are not yet at the record highs seen in 2012, the cost of a litre of petrol has been inflated by fuel companies taking an extra 2p per litre profit.
The AA also found that the weak pound has pushed up prices at the pump, suggesting that a litre could cost as little as 110 pence were sterling at its previous highs.
Rising prices despite low cost of oil
Oil prices are 69 per cent lower today than in 2012, but wholesale petrol has fallen by just 39 per cent in the period.
Meanwhile the cost of petrol at the pump is expected to break the 120 pence mark in the next fortnight.
Diesel currently sits at an average of 120.5 pence per litre, and is also expected to rise.
Swinging prices impact consumers
Prices have been pushed down in recent weeks following a supermarket price war, but it is expected that that period of respite may soon end.
AA president Edmund King said: “Petrol and diesel at around 25 pence per litre cheaper than the record levels of April 2012 should be cause for celebration, but that doesn’t account for the impact of price swings on family budgets.
“Having seen 2.5 pence a litre or £1.35 a tank knocked off the cost of petrol and diesel in late March, it looks set to go back on in the next fortnight.
“For drivers who rely on their cars to get to work, it means that the higher cost has to be covered by cutbacks elsewhere.”
UK businesses are also being put under pressure by rising prices, with insolvency firm Begbies Traynor warning that almost 22,000 firms are facing ‘significant financial distress’ due to rising fuel, food and energy prices. This is up by a quarter in the last 12 months.