Petrol Prices Back To Pre-Pandemic Levels

Sat 30th Jan 2021

One of the small mercies of the global lockdown over the last 12 months has been a significant drop in fuel prices, driven by a lack of demand, meaning that those who still need to drive have found filling up a less expensive experience.

But those who have stayed off the roads in Lockdown 3.0 could have a bit of a surprise when they turn up at their local petrol forecourt, as prices across the UK have returned to their pre-pandemic prices of £1.20 per litre.

In some parts of the country, petrol prices had dropped to as little as £1 per litre last year, as a major slump in demand saw the price of a barrel of oil fall by record levels. But this month the price of oil has risen by $6 a barrel, which could add some extra pence on the cost of a litre, especially as supermarkets seem keen to keep their ‘lockdown bonus’ by not reducing prices to reflect the price of oil.

 “Many drivers in lockdown are using their cars for short trips, such as to the supermarket, and are filling up much less often than usual,” said Luke Bosdet of the AA

“If this week they have gone to the fuel station for the first time since December, they will have seen a 4p to 5p-a-litre leap in petrol and diesel prices.

“That will be a nasty surprise and compound their lockdown frustrations.”

One of the keys to last year’s price drop on fuel was the price war between the major supermarkets, though current differences in prices suggest that those days are over. Meanwhile independent petrol stations are fighting for every penny according to Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association. 

He said: “Petrol stations are rightly regarded as 'essential' businesses by Government yet the independent sector struggles for financial sustainability as fuel volumes plummet again during this latest lockdown. 

“Unlike the big supermarkets buoyed by massive increases to grocery sales, independents have to hold onto every penny of margin to avoid cutting staff and reducing service levels in a tight market.”