Motorists saw the cost of petrol and diesel increase by 2p a litre in January, taking prices to their highest for more than two years.
According to the first RAC Fuel Watch report of 2017, a litre of unleaded now stands at 120.01p and diesel at 122.30p – at the start of the year the cost was 117.90p and 120.35, respectively.
Compared to early January 2016, unleaded has gone up 17p a litre from 102.69p and diesel has increased 21p from its end of January 2016 low of 101.05p.
However, the RAC believes motorists should be aggrieved by the 2p a litre January jump in price as it says the wholesale price of unleaded has remained stable throughout the month and diesel has actually reduced slightly.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams says: “In the last two months 5p a litre has been added to the pump price of both petrol and diesel which means the cost of filling up is really starting to hurt motorists again. But the January rise is harder to swallow as there is a saving from wholesale prices that retailers should be passing on a little faster than they are.
“It is particularly worrying that the supermarkets have increased their prices by an average of 3p a litre in January with one adding nearly 5p a litre.
“As the wholesale price stands currently we would be expecting to see average prices come down by over a penny a litre in the next fortnight.”
Northern Ireland sees biggest jump in prices
Northern Ireland once again has the cheapest fuel in the UK despite suffering the biggest increases in both petrol and diesel in January with nearly 3p a litre being added in the month. The North East saw the smallest increase in unleaded at just under 2p a litre whereas Wales had the lowest diesel rise at just over 1.5p a litre.
The South East is still the most expensive region to buy both petrol and diesel with a litre of unleaded costing an average of 120.94p and diesel 123.26p.