The price of petrol and diesel inched up in February, ending three months of price reductions.
Data from RAC Fuel Watch shows that the average price of a litre of petrol in the UK increased by just under a penny to 120.42p at the end of the month, while diesel increased by 1.24p to 129.88p per litre.
November marked the start of the fuel price cuts, with the average price of unleaded petrol reducing by 11p to 119.60p at the end of January. Diesel fell by 8p a litre from 136.93p to 128.74p over the same period.
As a result of the price rise in February, it now costs £66.23 to fill up an average 55-litre car with petrol. For diesel, it costs £71.43.
The rises were driven by a five per cent increase in the price of oil, which added an extra $3 to the barrel to $65.13 at the end fo last month.
As a result of the costs of oil going up, the big four supermarkets – Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons and Tesco – increased their prices to 117p for unleaded and to 126.10p for diesel.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Drivers will be disappointed to see prices at the pumps going up again after enjoying three months of reductions.
“What they probably aren’t aware of is that retailers, who held off cuts for weeks when they were warranted, instantly raised their prices when they saw the wholesale price go up very slightly. This is unfortunately clear proof of the infamous ‘rocket and feather’ pricing strategy where prices go up like a rocket and fall like a feather.
“Even the cheapest supermarket fuel retailer Asda which held its average petrol price at 113.7p since mid-January flinched, adding more than 1.5p a litre in four days. It will be interesting to see if this comes off again as the wholesale price eased almost straightaway.
“Currently, retailers should actually be reducing their unleaded prices a little, but it remains to be seen whether they will pass on the savings to drivers on the forecourt. Based on their current track record you would have to say this seems unlikely.”