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Why petrol prices are so high in the UK

Updated on June 28, 2011

Why are petrol prices so high in the UK?

As the prices of petrol rocket higher and higher in the UK, many drivers are wondering what the cause is for the sudden rise in petrol prices. Drivers are finding it more and more difficult to run their cars, with the average price of petrol at £1.40 per litre.

Diesel is the most expensive to buy, with a litre costing as much as £1.53 at some UK petrol stations.

Fuel prices are the highest they have been for the last three years.

So why is petrol suddenly so expensive in the UK? Is it going to decrease in price eventually? Read on to discover the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about petrol in the world today.

Average UK fuel prices

According to, as of 14th April 2011, fuel prices are as follows:

Unleaded -- average 135.29p, minimum 129.9p, maximum 147.9p

Diesel -- average 141.60p, minimum 130.9p, maximum 154.9p

LRP -- average 138.76p, minimum 132.9p, maximum 138.9p

Super -- average 142.70p, minimum 129.9p, maximum 155.9p

LPG -- average 76.45p, minimum 68.9p, maximum 84.9p


The rise in VAT

On 4th January 2011, VAT rose from 17.5% to 20%, a record high, meaning that the price of almost everything increased. Yep, including the price of fuel.

A litre of Unleaded petrol cost on average £1.34 on the 4th January 2011, and isn't much different today. However, drivers shouldn't get too happy yet, as the price of a litre of Unleaded is expected to rise to £1.50.


Rise in Duty

Not only did VAT increase, but there was also a government fuel duty increase of 76p on both petrol and diesel. That took place on New Year's Day 2011.

The AA estimated back then that the fuel duty increase would add an extra 3.5p per litre of both petrol and diesel.

Fuel duty is also known as fuel tax.

Approximately 60% of what you pay for your fuel is tax.


The Earthquake in Japan

March 11th

The Sendai Earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Why does that make any difference?

Because it's one of the largest power plants in the world, and of course, when it was damaged, the production stopped. Not only did this cause gas prices to rise, oil prices also rose, causing petrol and diesel prices to increase as well.

Read more about The Japan Earthquake - How YOU Can Help



In a worse case scenario, drivers could be paying up to £2 per litre to keeps their car running! If the situation is Libya gets worse, fuel prices will definitely rise.

Alan Duncan spoke to The Times newspaper, where he said, "If this (Libya) does go wrong, £1.30 at the pump could look like a luxury."

So don't be too quick to complain, drivers!

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Where can you get the cheapest fuel?

You can now find the cheapest petrol stations in your area!

Petrol Prices let's you sign up and find the cheapest petrol stations near you.

Maybe your petrol won't cost you an arm and a leg anymore!


Which petrol stations are offering to help you?

They're offering discounts!

Supermarkets are trying to help out drivers a bit, and are offering money off petrol and diesel.

From 18th April 2011, Morrisons will be offering 6p off per litre for those who spend over £40 in store with their new "Fuel Britannia" deal.

Sainsbury's are offering a similar deal, but they will only give you 3.5p off per litre.

The Co-op is also in on the act, and you can get 5p off per litre at their petrol station, providing you have spent £40 or more in store.

Morrisons seem to have a lovely motive behind their offer. "We know that over the Easter holidays and the royal wedding, motorists will want to travel further to visit friends and relatives, but will be put off by the cost of petrol," said Richard Lancaster, Morrisons marketing director. "Our offer ensures that our customers can enjoy this time and worry less about the cost."

Aww, sweet!

How fuel prices have escalated in the past 2 years


Say what you want, have a moan, have a rant...

What d'ya think? - Have a rant!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @ajgodinho: No the people of the uk are being ripped off why is our Government doing anything about it ?

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      News to me. I was under the impression the petrol prices are getting too high in India lately, but surprising to find the it is almost 100% more in the UK. Think in today's conversion rate, it would cost around 85p to a liter here! Oops...

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      3 years ago fuel got to around £1.30/litre when oil prices were $150/barrel and the $-£ at around 1.5 making a barrel of oil about £100. Now a barrel is $125 and the exchange rate is about 1.6 making a barrel about £78.

      In real terms (compared to summer of 2008) we should be paying about £1.05, I can't believe that VAT and fuel duty has added 35p a litre in 3 years!!!!

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Petrol (i.e. gas) prices in the UK are definitely higher than here in Canada, but I think everyone around the globe is feeling the pinch. The summer months generally bring about higher gas prices. Canada exports gas to the US, but Canadian pay more than US residents. I think higher gas prices are here to stay, so we as consumers need to make the shift to better alternatives.

    • hotbrain profile image

      hotbrain 6 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      Great lens! They are also high in the U.S. (at least compared to what we're used to). I hope that they go down soon. If these prices stay high, it's not going to be very good for the economy.