WITH around 38 million cars on the road in the UK in 2019 the rise and fall of petrol prices has long been a hot-topic on the lips of motorists throughout the country.

Although it is unlikely we will see scenes similar to those in 2000 – a series of protests and a fuel drought, which closed 3,000 petrol stations after rising tax – getting the best deal when it comes to fuel is often at the forefront of motorists’ minds.

In May this year, the average price of fuel rose for the fourth month in a row making petrol 11p a litre more expensive than it was at the beginning of February and diesel 7p dearer.

Data from RAC Fuel Watch revealed petrol went up by another 2.34p to 130.57p in May while diesel increased by 1.74p to 135.54p.

This is in stark contrast to February 3 when a litre of unleaded cost an average of 119.54p and diesel was 128.64p.

As a result, petrol is only a penny away from its five-year high of 131.58p which was recorded on 15 October, 2018.

The highest ever recorded diesel price was recorded on April 13, 2012, when it hit a record high of 147.93p per litre on average.

Unleaded prices hit a record high just a few days later costing 142.48p a litre on average.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said May was another miserable month for drivers with the fourth straight average price rise of both petrol and diesel taking us near to a five-year high.

He said: “After suffering a steady flow of daily fuel price increases because of rising wholesale costs we urge retailers to reflect this sudden drop in the price of oil by cutting their prices as soon as possible.”

The issue has also attracted local attention with Hexham’s residents contacting the Courant to express their dismay at the high prices charged by the Shell and Eurogarage in the town compared to other other petrol stations.

Adrian Nixon said: “Enough is enough. For the last six weeks I’ve been working throughout Northumberland and, to my dismay, I’ve found Hexham to be the most expensive place for fuel.

“With both our garages price matching, in most cases Hexham is 4p per litre dearer, but if you head to Crawcrook it’s 7p per litre more expensive.

“There is no reason for this. I now think we should unite and stop buying fuel in Hexham until a fair fuel price is established.”

Local resident, John Hope, has also noticed the price difference throughout Tynedale.

He said: “Hexham is being ripped off by our two petrol stations charging £1.39p for diesel.

“At first I thought we were being charged the same prices as elsewhere, but we’re not.

“Why are we being told to pay this much?”

The RAC said one of the reasons prices were more expensive in places like Hexham was local retail dynamics.

“Local prices are very often driven by the presence of supermarkets keen to compete on price or an independent forecourt retailer that is determined to offer the cheapest fuel,” a spokesman said.

“In terms of prices in rural areas, delivery costs tend not to play too large a part in the overall pump price but the excessive distances from fuel terminals can have a significant effect on prices in rural locations.”

Eurogarages and Shell were contacted for a comment.