HUDDERSFIELD motorists have been hit by another rise in fuel prices – as a lobby group called for action to make pricing more transparent.
The AA’s September Fuel Report showed that the average cost of petrol has risen by 4.69p a litre since the middle of August from 135.52p a litre to 140.21p.
The cost of diesel on UK forecourts has soared 4.15p a litre from an average of 140.45p a month ago to 144.60p now, the report said.
In April, petrol hit a record of 142.48p a litre and diesel touched 147.93.
Since July 1 – when petrol sank to a summer low of 130.81p and diesel 136.12p – the cost of a typical 50-litre petrol refill has risen from £65.41 to £70.11. A tradesman’s van with an 80-litre diesel tank now costs £115.68 to refuel against £108.90 at the low point.
Pump prices in Yorkshire now stand at an average of 139.9p a litre for petrol and 144.1p for diesel – up by 4.9p and 4.1p respectively since mid-August.
Figures from petrolprices.com show prices for Huddersfield now ranging from 137.7p to 148.9p for petrol and 141.7p to 153.9p for diesel.
The AA said petrol prices have been buoyed up by speculation on tight supply caused by the impact of Hurricane Isaac, refinery fires and the closure of refineries for maintenance.
Oil prices had risen following the announcement of a US financial stimulus package. The AA said there was also growing concern among financial analysts that economic recovery is being undermined by the bullish behaviour of speculators in the oil market.
Bernard Stern, of Huddersfield petrol retailer C J Stern (Oils) Ltd, said: “In the last few months, the wholesale fuel price has gone up by something like 20 to 25%. From being less than 100 US dollars a barrel, it is now 116 US dollars.”
But he said: “It’s difficult to see why – but it’s certainly not the retailers who are benefiting. And there is no shortage of refined product on the market because as the price goes up, people are cutting back.”
He added: “Some people who would routinely put £40 of fuel in the tank when they fill-up are sticking with that and trying to make it stretch a little further.”
The Office of Fair Trading has announced a preliminary investigation into oil and fuel markets, due to report early next year.
But the AA said this had come at the expense of talks between the Government and the fuel industry, initiated by former Transport Secretary Justine Greening, for the speedy introduction of a wholesale price indicator in the UK.
Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “The AA welcomes the OFT investigation – but not at the expense of immediate and easily-achieved price transparency, which would have informed the investigation while empowering consumers and businesses at the same time”.