Petrol prices have continued to rise in the UK, with the latest figures showing the cost of unleaded hit a new record level at the end of October. The news comes a week after petrol prices broke the previous record high set in April 2012, and just days after diesel prices followed suit.

According to the RAC’s Fuel Watch initiative, which monitors average UK fuel prices, petrol exceeded the all-time peak on Sunday, October 24, hitting 142.94p per litre. Over the course of the next week, the price of the average litre of unleaded rose further, hitting 144.35p on October 31.

That meant fuel prices rose by 7.43p per litre over the course of October, having started the month at 136.92p per litre. That’s means petrol prices haven’t just hit an all-time high, but they have also grown at record speed. October’s price growth was the largest single-month increase since 2000.

Sainsbury petrol station in Livingston Scotland

At the same time, average diesel prices also surpassed their record level on October 31, hitting 147.94p per litre to beat the 147.93p-a-litre record set in April 2012. That meant diesel prices increased by 8.43p per litre increase over the course of October – the largest single-month price hike since May 2008.

The new records mean both petrol and diesel now cost 30p per litre more than they did at the end of October 2020, so filling a typical family car’s 55-litre tank with either fuel is now £16.50 more expensive than it was 12 months ago.

Sainsbury's petrol station in Preston Lancashire UK

“October 2021 set records for all the wrong reasons and was a horrible month for drivers with both petrol and diesel prices hitting new heights,” said RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams. “The increases of almost 7.5p being added to a litre of unleaded and more than 8p going on to diesel are some of the highest we’ve seen in the 21 years we’ve been tracking fuel prices.

“Sadly, since passing the old record from 2012 the price of petrol has continued to climb and closed October at an eye-watering average of 144.35p. With a fill-up costing £16.50 more than a year ago, the impact is definitely being felt in homes up and down the country. It’s also bound to have a negative effect on the economy.

“There is, however, a glimmer of hope that the oil price may have peaked for the time being, but much will of course depend on whether more supply is released when oil producer group OPEC+ next meets on Thursday.

“Regardless of this, the profit margin retailers are taking on each litre of petrol is greater now than it used to be prior to the pandemic, which is artificially making forecourt prices higher, particularly as VAT is charged on top. We urge the biggest retailers, in particular, to play fair with drivers and ease the burden at the pumps by lowering their margins on petrol from around 8p a litre to more normal levels.”

Man at petrol station filling up