London Drivers Hit Hardest At The Pump

Sat 17th Apr 2021

The nightmare of owning and driving a car in the UK’s capital continues with news that petrol prices in London are higher than everywhere else in the country.

It probably comes as no surprise to those who live and work in London that yet again they pay more for the same commodity that the rest of the UK gets for less. London drivers already have to contend with a £12.50 ULEZ charge to drive into most areas of the capital and find that parking and almost everything else is much more expensive the closer they get to the centre.

But quite why Londoners pay more for petrol is a peculiar one, and probably a little unfair when you consider that the prices are usually driven by the global cost of a barrel of oil. But data published by the AA this week showed that petrol prices are 6p a litre more expensive than the cheapest parts of the UK.

The AA’s report shows that Londoners pay £3.30 more to fill an average family petrol car, compared to that same car in Northern Ireland, where petrol is at its cheapest. And with Londoners seeing demand for petrol and diesel rise higher than the rest of the country, the fuel companies are cashing in.

“Most drivers compare changes in the value of oil with price changes at the pump to decide whether the fuel trade is treating them fairly. At present, they see a significant fall in the cost of oil but forecourt prices not budging an inch,” says Luke Bosdet, the AA's fuel price spokesman.

“Although much of that petrol price inertia can be explained by a stronger commodity fuel market, as usually happens heading into the US summer motoring season, the 3p-a-litre diesel price rip-off cannot.

“A collapse in fuel demand during the first lockdown gave the fuel trade its excuse for keeping prices artificially high, apparently to compensate for the lower sales. However, as Londoners are discovering, that price behaviour doesn't work the other way.”