Hit the brakes: Petrol prices rose in March (but won't hit 2012 levels again anytime soon)

Emma Haslett
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UK's Rising Fuel Prices Puts Economic Pressure On Haulage Sector
Petrol prices shouldn't hit 2012's eye-watering levels again (Source: Getty)

Wallet feeling a little lighter after the great Easter getaway? That'll be because petrol and diesel prices rose in March for the first time since July last year. Bad news for drivers, slightly better news for oil investors.

Figures from RAC Fuel Watch showed petrol suffered a "sudden and unwelcome" 3p-a-litre rise in March - from 101.91p at the beginning of the month to 105.26p at the end. Wholesale prices rose 6p a litre, to 103.19p.

Diesel prices increased even more, from 101.56p at the beginning of the month at 105.26p at the end, even though wholesale prices only rose 1.5p a litre, to 99.59p.

Read more: Here's where hedge funds think oil will go

That's partly thanks to oil prices - a barrel of oil rose over $40 for four days in the middle of the month, although it dropped back to $38 by the end.

Simon Williams, RAC's fuel spokesman, suggested a meeting between Opec and non-Opec oil-producing countries later this month may push prices up (although an earlier agreement is looking increasingly shaky).

“We hope the rebound in pump prices will be limited by the fact that Opec will not want to let the price go too far back up.

"It looks as though we are heading towards a new norm of the oil price fluctuating between lower and upper limits of $35 and $55 a barrel.

“This means that motorists should hopefully not see the eye-watering prices they were paying at the pumps in April 2012 when the average price of petrol was 142p and diesel was close to 150p per litre.”

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