Petrol prices rose to their highest level in almost two years during May, according to new data from the RAC. Figures released this week by the organisation’s Fuel Watch initiative showed the average price of a full tank of fuel is now around £8 more expensive than it was just seven months ago.

According to the motoring organisation, the UK average price for a litre of petrol stood at 129.27p, an increase of 2p per litre. That’s the highest price the RAC has recorded since August 2019, following a 15.5p-per-litre price rise since November 2020 – the last time petrol prices fell in a month.

Diesel prices rose by a similar amount in May, up 1.95p to an average of 131.59p per litre. As a result, diesel is now almost 20p a litre more expensive than it was in May 2020, following a 14.4p-per-litre price hike over the past six months.

Motorists fill up at petrol startion in Trowbridge UK

As a result, the RAC says filling a typical family car’s 55-litre family car will set drivers of petrol cars back an average £71.10 – about £8 more than it would have been in November. For drivers of diesel cars, the average price of fuel means filling a similar 55-litre tank would cost £72.37 – also an increase of around £8.

According to the RAC, the future of fuel prices in the UK depends largely on the decisions made by oil-producing countries. The organisation says oil producers have been stifling supply, but they have begun to release more product as demand has increased following lockdowns.

Dramatic sky over two oil pumpjacks in rural Alberta Canada

“After a weekend which saw millions of cars take to the roads to enjoy a sunny bank holiday and a half term away from home the price of filling up with petrol has unfortunately reached its highest point in just shy of two years,” said RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams. “After seven consecutive months of rising prices drivers will be wondering if the increases are ever going to end. We’ve now witnessed the biggest petrol price rise in any 12-month period since May 2010 when unleaded rocketed from 99p a year earlier to 121p.

“As always, the future of fuel prices is hard to predict more than a few weeks in advance and even more so now as the pandemic appears to have altered the dynamics of fuel retailing, with the supermarkets having an even greater stranglehold on the market. Drivers’ fuel price fate depends on what happens with global oil production and demand.”