British motorists have had to endure nine months of consecutive fuel price rises, according to new figures from the RAC. The motoring organisation’s Fuel Watch data shows prices rose again in July, with petrol prices up by 3.4 pence per litre and diesel prices up by 2.7 pence per litre.

At the beginning of July, the RAC says petrol cost an average of 131.76p per litre, while diesel started the month at an average of 134.36p per litre. Come the end of the month, those figures had risen to 135.13p per litre and 137.06p per litre respectively.

Those rises meant July 2021 was the most expensive month to fill up with petrol since 2013, and the most expensive month for diesel prices since 2014. At the end of July, Filling a typical family car’s 55-litre fuel tank with petrol cost £3.08 more than it did at the beginning of the month, and £11.47 more than it did a year ago. For diesel, the differences stand at £2.90 and £10.46.

Woman refuelling with nozzle at petrol station

According to the RAC, the increases are fuelled by the ending of lockdown restrictions in many places across the world. That has caused an increase in demand for travel and, as a result, increased demand for oil.

Although the figures suggest oil prices did not rise dramatically during July, the early part of the month saw prices approach the $80-a-barrel (around £57.50 at current exchange rates). As demand for oil outstrips supply, prices are pushed up and drivers bear the brunt of those increases.

Sainsbury petrol station in Livingston Scotland

“Prices really are only going one way at the moment – and that’s not the way drivers want to see them going,” said RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams. “With a second summer staycation in full swing, it’s proving to be a particularly costly one for many families who are using their cars to holiday here in the UK. With so many people depending on their vehicles, there’s really nothing drivers can do to escape the high prices, and our best advice is for them to drive as economically as possible in order to try to make their money go further.

“Right now, it’s hard to see what it will take for prices to start falling again. While we’re not past the pandemic by any means, demand for oil is likely to continue to increase as economic activity picks up again, and this is likely to have the effect of pushing up wholesale fuel prices, costs which retailers are bound to pass on at the pumps. Unless major oil producing nations decide a new strategy to increase output, we could very well see forecourt prices going even higher towards the end of the summer.

“If there is any good news at all, it is that prices would need to rise significantly further – by a further 3p – to reach the highest prices we saw in 2013. But that’s no comfort for the millions of drivers who are faced with paying so much more for fuel than they have done in many years.”