It’s hard enough to run a business without being unable to predict one of your major regular costs.

That’s why the fluctuating prices of petrol and diesel can cause major headaches for any UK business.

Just six years ago average unleaded pump prices were around 87p a litre. Within two years they had soared 57%. This year they have plunged back to around 112p.

We all know a big chunk of the pump price is tax and sometimes retailers are slow to react to wholesale price changes. But the main underlying cause of these fluctuating prices is the global cost of oil.

Oil prices rise and fall like a barometer linked to the world economy. If demand for fuel falls – during a recession for example – the price of oil usually does too. On top of this, oil-producing nations sometimes ramp up or hold back production to manipulate prices.

It’s a complex business and even industry experts have trouble predicting the next trends. Over recent years volatile prices have forced many businesses to put their fleet fuel costs under severe scrutiny. Many have implemented cost-saving schemes as prices have risen, including driver training and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Recent fuel price trends have seen diesel dip under the price of petrol because of a major shift in the global demand. Current industry predictions appear to be for production to continue to surpass demand, so the outlook for prices appears to be good. But sudden international events, like wars or natural disasters, can quickly skew any forecasts.

How do price changes affect Allstar customers? Different types of Allstar cards have different price implications. Discount cards, like the Allstar One card, gives a set reduction on pump prices.

The wide acceptability of Allstar cards means our card-holders don’t have to waste time and fuel looking for the correct garage. With the widest fuel network of more than 7,700 locations, Allstar customers are free to choose the cheapest fuels.

Find out more about fuel prices from the AA.

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Global oil price changes over the last 150 years. (Thanks to BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015)