The average cost of diesel and petrol at UK filling stations has gone up by 4p and 3.2p per litre respectively during the last three weeks, the RAC has reported.

The motoring organisation said these increases had brought an end to a pattern of reductions in the price of both fuels, with a litre of diesel having fallen by 15p between October and the end of January, and a litre of petrol having fallen by 17p.

The RAC said the rises had occurred because of a jump in the price of oil, which has been trading above $80 a barrel for most of the last four weeks, having been far below that for the previous seven.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “News that fuel prices have bottomed out and are now on the rise again is bad news for drivers, and possibly the economy and future inflation rates, too.

“While we’re not expecting prices to shoot up dramatically, it appears that oil is trading up, which in the absence of a stronger pound, means wholesale fuel costs more for retailers to buy in. The result is higher prices at the pump and more expense for the every-day driver.

“The Red Sea attacks by Houthi rebels, which are forcing tankers to avoid the Suez Canal and instead go round South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, are clearly playing their part, but so have global refinery maintenance closures, the start of America’s driving season, and UK retailers buying more fuel stocks ahead of the Budget to protect against a possible fuel duty hike by the Chancellor.

“Despite these factors, we ought not to see forecourt prices go up too much more from where they are today, but a lot depends on how much margin the biggest retailers decide to take.”