If you want to save money, you're advised to fill up. More pressure on the motorist, just as the Office of Fair Trading is on the verge of opening an investigation into price rigging accusations.
"The shock rise in wholesale costs is just one of the reasons why the Petrol Retailers' Association (PRA) has been knocking on the door of the Office for Fair Trading (OFT), since this time last year, to demand a full investigation into the workings of the UK market for road fuel," says Brian Madderson, PRA chairman.
Pump price panic
However the AA says the fuel industry failed to pass on a 2p fall in diesel wholesale costs in December through to January. With VAT added this was worth 2.5p at the pump.
Between late November and early December, the cost of diesel for retailers fell from around 53p a litre to below 51p. But the average pump price only fell from 141.5p to 140p a litre, claims the AA.
"Since the start of the new year, a weaker pound against the dollar, the currency used for trading oil and fuel, is putting upward pressure on pump prices," says the AA.
Petrol 2012 sales fallMid-January petrol prices across the UK are marginally up on a month ago, averaging 132.71p a litre compared to mid-December's 132.32p. Through Christmas and first week of January, petrol prices were grounded at 132.0p a litre - before a 2p-a-litre rise in wholesale costs began to lift it again.
Either way, financial pressure on consumers is reflected at the pumps: new HMRC figures show the impact of high petrol prices on fuel sales overall for 2012. Petrol sales sank -3.9% overall (down 756 million litres) to £18.792bn while diesel sales recovered +1.6% overall, rising 421 million litres to £26.347bn.