Fuel prices finally fell last month, giving drivers a slight respite after four consecutive months of increases, RAC data has shown.

According to RAC Fuel Watch, the average price of unleaded petrol fell by just over 3p per litre last month, dropping to 127.62p per litre. At the same time, average diesel prices fell even more dramatically, sliding by more than 4.6p per litre to 130.9p per litre.

As a result, the cost of filling a typical family car’s 55-litre fuel tank with petrol at the end of June was almost £1.70 cheaper than it would have been at the start of the month. In total, a tank of unleaded cost an average of £70.19 at the end of June, while the price of a similarly sized tank of diesel sank to £72.

Man hand holding diesel fuel pump nozzle

But the RAC says the diesel price has not fallen as low as it should have. The wholesale price of diesel (the amount retailers pay for the fuel before selling it on at a profit) dropped to its lowest point since March - a mere 95.79p per litre - but prices during the last week or so of June were still 4p per litre higher than they were three months previously.

Sainsbury's petrol station in Preston Lancashire UK

“It’s great to see pump prices falling for the first time since January, but the reductions should have been greater based on the substantial decrease in the wholesale price,” said the RAC’s fuel spokesperson, Simon Williams. “Retailers were clearly banking on the oil price rebounding after its sudden drop which began at the end of May when a barrel was over $70. Inevitably this has meant bad news for drivers who have lost out with pump prices being 4p a litre more expensive than they should have been.

“Unfortunately, retailers’ hunch that oil would quickly increase again were right and now their prices are broadly where they should be based on the current wholesale price. They just happen to have made significant profits as a result of not passing on more of the savings to drivers than they did.”

Sainsbury's petrol station in Preston Lancashire UK

And Williams also warned that oil price reductions may not continue as a result of the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC) production cut, which has been extended into next year in a bid to force prices up.

“Drivers should take heart from the fact fuel prices have gone down in June, but it’s hard to see another drop materialising with OPEC and its partners extending their production cut until March 2020,” he said. “On top of that there is also talk of a trade deal being struck between the United States and China allaying fears of a global economic slowdown which may have led to lower oil prices and in turn cheaper prices at the pump.

“If we get through July without petrol and diesel going up it will be a good result for drivers at the start of the summer holidays.”