Prices stayed steady during October, but November could be a different story.

Fuel prices could fall by as much as 5p per litre over the first few weeks of November, the RAC has claimed. According to the organisation’s Fuel Watch initiative, which tracks the price of petrol and diesel, fuel prices have been more or less stable throughout October, but that could change amid England’s second lockdown of 2020.

At the end of last month, the average price of a litre of petrol was 114.43p, down from 114.53p at the beginning of the month. Diesel prices, meanwhile, fell from 118.09p a litre at the beginning of October to 117.82p at the end of the month – a drop of just 0.27p per litre.

Those minute reductions came despite noticeable falls in the wholesale price (the amount retailers pay for the fuel they sell) of both fuels. Wholesale petrol prices fell by 4.62p per litre in October, while wholesale diesel prices fell by the same amount. And despite having a higher retail price than petrol, the wholesale price of diesel is, in fact, lower.

As a result, the RAC says there is pressure on retailers to cut diesel prices, claiming the fuel has been “over-priced for nearly two months”. However, the organisation says falling oil prices should lead to lower prices at forecourts, with Asda already slashing 2p a litre off petrol and 3p a litre from diesel at the start of November.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said prices were unlikely to dip as low as they did in March, but reductions are very much in the offing. However, he pointed out that some retailers might choose to pocket the savings caused by cheap oil, rather than passing them on to consumers.

Sainsbury's petrol station in Preston Lancashire UK

“It’s likely to be a case of déjà-vu for drivers this month as once again fuel prices are starting to fall just at the point when we’re all driving less as a result of a coronavirus lockdown,” he said. “It’s good to see Asda leading the way with an initial price cut and we now need other retailers to follow suit as quickly as possible.

“While we’re not expecting prices to go as low as last time – March saw petrol prices under £1 a litre as a result of oil prices falling to a 21st century low – any driver needing to fill up later in November should be greeted by the sight of lower prices, if retailers do the right thing.

“It remains to be seen, however, to what extent retailers pass on the wholesale savings they have been enjoying recently to drivers. Diesel drivers in particular have reason to feel particularly hard done by, as arguably they have been paying over the odds for the fuel for two whole months now. We strongly urge retailers to lower the price of diesel, both for businesses and the country’s 12-million-plus diesel car drivers.”

Pumps at petrol station