The RAC has predicted that diesel fleets could soon benefit from a price fall of around 3p a litre at the pumps, providing retailers accurately reflect wholesale fuel prices.

Recent data from RAC Fuel Watch found that the average price of petrol at the pumps increased for the second successive month in March, up by 2p to 122.58p per litre. The average price of diesel at the pumps also rose modestly last month, up by 0.70p to 130.67p per litre.

Diesel is almost 8p more expensive than it was at the same time in 2018 and 2017 (122.82p in 2018 and 122.19p in 2017). This equates to a price rise of around £4.30 per tank.

Rising pump prices have been attributed to the 4% increase in the cost of oil to $68.07, along with the 2% weakening of the pound against the US dollar.

However, hope is on the horizon for diesel fleets given that the gap between the wholesale price of diesel and petrol is closing, which should bring some welcome relief to fleet owners, according to RAC fuel spokesman, Simon Williams.

“Diesel drivers are particularly feeling the pinch at the moment, as compared to this time last year and the year before a litre is on average 8p more expensive than petrol,” said Williams.

“Worse still, diesel is also 8p dearer than it was at this time in both 2018 and 2017.

“Throughout March, the wholesale price of diesel was on average 6p a litre more than petrol. This gap has now closed which should hopefully bring some relief to drivers of diesel vehicles.

“If retailers play fair with motorists the prices of the fuel should fall by around 3p a litre in the next fortnight whereas petrol looks like it’s set to rise further with at least a penny or two likely to go on in the coming weeks.”

Williams suggests that UK supermarkets can play a pivotal role in passing on the fall in wholesale diesel prices to fleets. Despite only owning a fifth of forecourts across the UK, they have almost half (45%) of the fuel market.

“If there isn’t good competition between them it can mean the UK average price of fuel is adversely affected, to the disadvantage of all drivers,” added Williams.