UK diesel price May 2022: Average cost jumps to record £1.80 per litre

Fuel duty cut wiped out by latest rises with warning that food and services costs could rise as businesses pass on hike

The price of diesel has hit a new record high, according to new data.

Despite a cut in fuel duty and a dip in wholesale prices in April, the average cost of a litre of diesel exceeded £1.80 for the first time, according to RAC Fuel Watch.

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Its tracking service reports the average price reaching 180.29p per litre on 15 May, taking it beyond the 179.9p recorded on 23 March.

It also showed that petrol is approaching the record 167.3p per litre set on 22 March.

Due to how they track prices, the RAC figures are slightly higher than separate data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which reported diesel hitting a record high early last week.

According to the ONS figures, diesel reached a record 178.4p on Monday 9 May, exceeding the previous ONS recorded high of 177.5p on 23 March.

Diesel and petrol prices both fell in late March and April, following a 5p cut in fuel duty. Petrol ended the month 4.5p per litre cheaper than at the start, while diesel was 2.5p cheaper. However, that cut has been wiped out by the latest increases and industry experts have warned that market volatility could push costs up again.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel. While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank. As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.

AA fuel spokesman Luke Bosdet warned that increased prices at the pumps would affect the cost of other goods as hauliers passed on the extra costs. He said: “Record pump prices not only hit families at the pump but also when they shop, get a delivery or call out a repair person.”

The RAC Foundation’s Steve Gooding called on the Chancellor to do more to ease pressure on drivers. He said: “The Chancellor can’t be blamed for the soaring cost of oil but he could and should go further in cutting the rate of duty.

“Whilst all the attention is on the price of a barrel of Brent crude, the Chancellor continues to quietly take in taxation only just less than 50% of everything that drivers pay on the forecourt.

“There has been a lot of criticism of the windfall profits being made by companies like BP and Shell, but let’s not forget that record oil prices are also bringing in extra for the Treasury in the form of VAT which is levied not just on the product price of petrol and diesel, but also the duty element.”