A wonder-fuel treat as petrol prices drop before Christmas

Petrol prices drop at Sainsbury's, Halifax.
Petrol prices drop at Sainsbury's, Halifax.

A festive treat is in store for motorists following a 6.6p-a-litre crash in UK average petrol pump prices over the past month.

This rivals the collapse in fuel prices during the credit crunch of 2008, according to the AA Fuel Price Report and it is the third biggest monthly fall in the 25-year history of the report.

Since mid-November, the average price of petrol has dropped from 122.93p a litre to 116.32p, a reduction of 6.61p and over the past month, the average price of diesel has fallen 5.27p, from 127.43p a litre to 122.16p.

The AA said that after a relatively stable petrol wholesale price from mid-October to mid-November, a 2.1p-a-litre fall in the last two weeks of November and a significant 6.2p fall in the last fortnight creates the potential for another 2p to 3p-a-litre fall at the pump.

This began with announcement by supermarkets of an up to 2p-a-litre price cut this week.

With a car being refuelled typically twice a month, monthly petrol costs for a standard 55-litre fuel tank have dropped £7.26 and the cost of diesel for an 80-litre van fuel tank is down £4.22 compared to a month ago.

Today, motorists will pay 110.70p for unleaded and 117.70p for diesel at the Asda store in Thrum Hall Lane, Halifax.

At the Keighley Road Morrisons store, Illingworth, the price of unleaded is 111.90p and diesel is 118.90p and at the Sainsbury’s store in Wade Street, Halifax unleaded costs 111.90p and diesel is 117.90p.

Edmund King, the AA’s president said: “A family with two cars will receive a £15 or more boost to their spending power in December. Some will take the chance to shore up family finances that have been under pressure for more than five years while others turn up the thermostat this winter.

“Hundreds of thousands, though, will siphon the savings into their Christmas shopping and the high street holds its breath to see how much it will benefit.

“A 6.6p-a-litre drop in the price of petrol releases a potential £3 million-a-day switch of consumer spending from fuel forecourts to other businesses.

“It will also lower the cost of transporting goods, hopefully also to be passed on to customers.

“However, the parallels with the 2008 crash, albeit that was a market in freefall while this one has been engineered by OPEC and could be stopped anytime, carry a warning from the ghost of Christmas past.

“In 2009, a new year brought a new assessment of the market and pump prices started to rise again on January 5.”

But the AA said that the possibility of the average petrol pump price falling below £1 a litre in the near future is unlikely - market experts have forecasted that oil would need to drop to around $40 a barrel, a third lower than it is currently, for this to happen.