Relief for drivers at the pumps then. Figures show the price of fuel has fallen about 4p a litre in the last month following a similar fall in the four weeks prior to that.
Clearly the recent decline in the price of oil – from around $120 a barrel to $97 today – has had a large part to play. But given that the cost of oil is only one constituent of pump prices any fall in the barrel price is never going to be matched by a similar percentage decrease at the filling station.
According to the UK-PIA – the body which represents the oil companies involved in refining in this country – we have one of the most competitive fuel markets in Europe. Don’t blame us they say, blame the high levels of tax which currently account for about 60% of the pump price in this country.
The best drivers can hope for is that changes to the pump prices accurately reflect underlying changes to the price of oil. There has long been a suspicion that pump prices are quick to rise after the price of oil goes up and slow to fall when it comes down.
This chart shows some of the correlation. What it does not show is how other factors have changed: the cost of production and refining, changes in taxation, exchange rates etc.
Interesting this week to also note from the DVLA’s new car licensing figures that there is little sign of the attraction of diesel cars waning. In Q1 of 2012 they made up 50% of all registrations, up from 48% in the same quarter a year earlier, though down slightly from the 53% seen in the last three months of 2011.