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Petrol price rise fears prove false

Fears that petrol prices could soar in the run-up to the August bank holiday have proved unfounded, AA figures have shown.

But the north-south divide for fuel prices is growing wider, with prices at the pumps higher, on average, in southern England than in northern England, the AA said.

Over the last month, the average UK price of petrol has trickled down from 117.46p a litre to 116.52p, with diesel dipping from 119.73p a litre in mid-July to 119.15p now.

In mid-May, the gap between average petrol prices in the north and the south was only 0.9p a litre but this has now grown to 1.7p a litre.

There had been predictions that pump prices could surge by 4p a litre ahead of the bank holiday, but a fall in the wholesale price of petrol has prevented that.

Across the UK at the moment, Yorkshire and Humberside has the cheapest petrol (115.4p a litre) as well as the cheapest diesel (118.1p).

Petrol is most expensive in London at 117.5p a litre and diesel is dearest in Northern Ireland at 120p.

AA public affairs head Paul Watters said: "This summer has seen both drivers and retailers struggling to come to terms with petrol prices that are much higher than a year ago.

"Drivers are cutting back, often only buying £10-£15 fuel at expensive sites when they have to and then driving on. Many of the more expensive retailers have brought their prices down to try to revive sales, one telling the AA that 'our owners say we need to be more competitive'."

He went on: "Scaring drivers with false predictions of imminent price rises was not the retailers' finest hour, but the AA is more worried by the price gap between towns in the south of England."

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