The average cost of diesel and petrol at UK filling stations went up slightly in January, the RAC has reported.

It said the average cost of both fuels increased by less than a penny, with the average litre of diesel now costing 149.81p, and petrol 146.45p.

However, the RAC said this meant some extra cost had been absorbed by retailers, with the wholesale price of the fuels up by 4.9p and 3.6p respectively.

The organisation said the increase was driven by a rise in the cost of a barrel of oil during the month, from $79 to more than $92.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “At long last, retailers appear to have heard our clarion calls for drivers to be charged a fairer price at the pumps – something that is so important as the effect of high inflation bites and households up and down the country brace themselves for what looks like an inevitable cost of living squeeze. 

“On average, retailers are now making a more normal profit for each litre of fuel they sell than they did in December which makes today’s pump prices – although up slightly on December – more justified.”

Despite welcoming retailers’ approach, Williams warned that further fuel price increases could be on the way.

He said: “With oil now having traded above $90 for a week – the highest price for more than seven years, wholesale fuel costs are once again increasing, which will undoubtedly lead to retailers putting up forecourt prices. 

‘Our message to the biggest retailers, which lead the market, is to treat drivers with respect by fairly reflecting the movement in the wholesale fuel market and not taking overly high margins.”