Petrol prices ‘could hit £1.50 a litre this week’

Warning of further record-breaking costs at the pumps as Ukraine crisis worsens and markets struggle with demand

Petrol and diesel prices could hit all-time highs within days as the crisis in Ukraine adds to pressure on the global fuel market.

The RAC is predicting that petrol could break the 150p per litre barrier in coming days, with diesel expected to top 154p per litre.

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The warning comes after Sunday saw the average price of both fuels reach new records, according to the motoring body’s tracking service.

Petrol hit 149.12p and diesel 152.58p on Sunday before dipping very slightly on Monday but the group’s Simon Williams said that continuing instability was likely to lead to further rises in the near future.

Fuel prices have rocketed in the last 12 months

UK fuel prices have soared in the last 12 months as the cost of oil on the wholesale market has surged from $60 a barrel in February 2021 to $98 a barrel earlier this month.

The jump has been attributed to a return to pre-pandemic levels of demand as well as restrictions on supply imposed by some major oil producing nations and the rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Mr Williams said that moves by Russia - the world’s third largest oil producer - to invade Ukraine were causing nervousness in global markets, which would inevitably lead to wholesale price rises.

He commented: “Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine is already causing oil prices to rise and will undoubtedly send fuel prices inexorably higher towards the grim milestone of £1.50 a litre.

“The price of oil is likely to go above $100 and stay there on the back of traders fearing future disruptions in supply. This spells bad news for drivers in the UK struggling to afford to put fuel in their cars.

“With retailers quick to pass on any wholesale price rises they experience, we could sadly see the average price of unleaded hit 150p in the next few days and diesel approaching 154p.”

However, he urged large retailers to “play fair” with drivers, adding: “We realise that smaller retailers who don’t buy fuel as frequently will be hit by higher wholesale costs but the biggest retailers who buy all the time shouldn’t currently be increasing their forecourt prices.

“The unrelentless rising price of fuel is hurting households up and down the country, furthering the cost of living crisis. Businesses are also suffering with diesel reaching new heights.”