August average bulk diesel price down, but worries stay

Average bulk diesel prices drop slightly in August

The average price of delivered bulk diesel in August fell by 5.33ppl, or 3.6%, from July to an average of 143.11ppl excluding VAT, according to figures compiled by trade body RHA. However, a weak pound, rapidly fluctuating spot prices and ongoing global political uncertainty continue to give little clarity over price behaviour in coming months.

August’s average bulk diesel price represents a fall of 12.30ppl, or 7.9%, from June, the peak month so far in 2022. But the figure last month was still 23.6% higher than January’s average and 39.6% above the position in August 2021.

The breadth of prices quoted to RHA members in August varied from 137.43 to 149.29ppl as the spread between highest and lowest remained similar to the previous three months.

Although the further modest reduction in prices during August will be cautiously welcomed, the drop came at a slower rate than in July. During the latter month, the average fell by 6.97ppl, or 4.5%, from the June figure.

The average price of Brent dipped below US$100 per barrel in August for the first time since February. The US$97.74 recorded was 7.0% down on July’s figure and 17.8% down from the 2022 peak thus far in March. Sterling’s average remained constant against the dollar from July in August, but as the month closed it lost ground.

Illustrating the unpredictable nature of bulk diesel prices, RHA told members that the final two full weeks of August saw a spike of over 10ppl. That tumbled away on the first day after the late summer bank holiday, but the trade body cautioned that such a drop could be short lived.

On 1 September, Reuters reported that oil production by the OPEC+ group may be cut despite rising in August to its highest level since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The outlet tempered that by adding that global demand for oil is likely to remain uncertain owing to rising inflation and high prices.