Petrol prices hit record high

UK petrol prices have climbed to their highest level to date, according to the RAC.

The price of unleaded petrol has jumped by 28p a litre to 142.94p, from 114.5p in October 2020 and exceeding the all-time peak of 142.48p a litre reached in April 2012.

It now costs £15 more to fill up an average family car compared with a year ago.

And the motoring organisation noted that the average price of super unleaded has risen to 154.58p a litre, drastically increasing costs for drivers whose cars are not compatible with new higher bio content E10 petrol introduced in September, which contains 10% ethanol. These drivers have no choice but to use E5 petrol which is now only available at the super unleaded grade.

Diesel is also heading towards a new record with the average now standing at 146.50p, just 1.5p off the high of 147.93p from April 2012.

Behind the high prices is a jump in the price of oil, as well as September’s switch to greener E10 petrol and retailers increasing their average margin after the pandemic hit sales.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said the high prices represent “a dark day for drivers” and will impact many household budgets, with 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 a barrel, we could very easily see the average price climb to 150p a litre,” he said.

“Even though many people aren’t driving as much as they have in the past due to the pandemic, drivers tell us they are just as reliant on their cars, and many simply don’t have a choice but to drive. Those on lower incomes who have to drive to work will seriously struggle to find the extra money for the petrol they so badly need.”

Williams called on the UK government to temporarily reduce VAT on fuel, and urged the biggest retailers to reduce the amount they make on every litre of petrol back down to the level it was before the pandemic.