New figures show average UK fuel prices fell for the first time in three months during April, providing some respite from rising costs for beleaguered British drivers. According to the RAC’s Fuel Watch initiative, which tracks average fuel prices across the UK, petrol and diesel prices both fell marginally over the course of last month.

Average UK petrol prices fell by 0.5p per litre, down from 163.25p per litre at the beginning of April to 162.75p per litre at the end of the month. Diesel prices fell even less noticeably, down from 177.44p per litre on April 1 to 177.31p per litre on April 30. As a result, petrol prices are now 4.5p per litre lower than their record high of March 22, while diesel is 2.5p per litre below its high point, which was recorded on March 23.

The small reductions mean the cost of filling a 55-litre fuel tank with petrol has fallen by 50p over the course of the month, with an average cost of £89.51. Filling a similarly sized tank with diesel would set you back £97 – much the same as at the beginning of April.

Hand holding fuel pump and refilling car at petrol station

“After three months of nightmarish price rises, April finally saw an end to seemingly endless forecourt hikes,” said the RAC’s fuel spokesperson Simon Williams. “Although the price of oil has cooled considerably, there’s still plenty of uncertainty in the market which is leading to prices jumping around a lot. This coupled with the exchange rate worsening isn’t good for drivers and news that the EU is planning to phase out Russian oil is likely to cause the barrel price to rise.

“However, retailers really should have passed on the savings they were benefitting from when wholesale prices were lower earlier in April; sadly for drivers this didn’t happen. Instead, the biggest retailers that buy most frequently held out, protecting themselves from future rises. They will no doubt feel they were justified in not lowering their forecourt prices as wholesale costs are now rising again, in part due to the pound losing ground on the dollar, making it more expensive for retailers when they buy new stock.

“It’s also very much the case that retailers’ margins were far higher in April than they were in March. RAC Fuel Watch data estimates they took around 4p more a litre than they did over the course of the previous month. This will surely be a disappointment to the Chancellor who cut fuel duty by 5p a litre in the Spring Statement.”