Esso, BP, Shell and Texaco latest as UK petrol prices hit record high

Petrol prices in the UK hit a record high on Sunday, new data shows.

The average cost of petrol soared to 142.94p a litre, beating the former record set in April 2012 by 0.46p.

However diesel is still a little short of its previous record of 147.93p after reaching 146.5p on the same day.

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RAC Fuel Watch data shows the price of unleaded has risen by 28p a litre in a year from 114.5p in October 2020, meaning a 55-litre vehicle will now cost £78.61 to fill up.

The hike has been driven primarily by the price of oil doubling in the last year, alongside the introduction of new E10 fuel which requires more ethanol – another expensive commodity.

Luke Bosdet, AA fuel price spokesman, said: “Whether it’s down to oil producers, market speculators, Treasury taxes or struggling retailers trying to balance their margins, record pump prices must be saying to drivers with the means that it is time to make the switch to electric.

“As for poorer motorists, many of them now facing daily charges to drive in cities, there is no escape.

“It’s a return to cutting back on other consumer spending, perhaps even heating or food, to keep the car that gets them to work on the road.”

A 20-mile round trip today would cost around 25p for the driver of a small electric car with a cheap energy supplier.

For someone driving a small petrol car the same journey would cost 10 times more, the AA said.

As a result, switching to electric could save drivers around £800 a year, it added.

The data is calculated by Experian Catalist and provided to the RAC and AA.

The latest figures are a major rise from the early days of the pandemic when the price of petrol collapsed to a low of 106.48p in May 2020.

The rebound is much quicker than the two-and-a-half years it took for prices to recover after the 2008 financial crash, the AA said.

UK petrol prices hit all-time high of £1.42 a litre
UK petrol prices hit all-time high of £1.42 a litre

Oil prices have soared since the beginning of the year from around 50 dollars per barrel in January to 85 dollars today.

“This is truly a dark day for drivers, and one which we hoped we wouldn’t see again after the high prices of April 2012,” said RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams.

“This will hurt many household budgets and no doubt have knock-on implications for the wider economy.

“The big question now is: where will it stop and what price will petrol hit? If oil gets to 100 dollars a barrel, we could very easily see the average price climb to 150p a litre.”

In 2012, when the last record was set, the price of a barrel of oil had reached 117 dollars.

But today the exchange rate between the pound and the dollar is lower, making it more expensive for British companies to buy coal.

Meanwhile, the price of ethanol, which is mixed into the UK’s petrol, has soared by 80% since 2012, the RAC said.

The price rises also came the weekend before 300,000 people in London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone face a charge of £12.50 every day because their cars are old and emit too much carbon.

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Lancs Live – Cumbria