Petrol costs may attain all-time highs earlier than Christmas, the RAC warned, signalling “distress” for motorists nonetheless reeling from the gas scarcity disaster.
Amid indicators that the variety of petrol forecourts working dry was easing, the drivers’ organisation warned that anxiousness about whether or not motorists may refill their tanks was probably to get replaced by concern about how a lot it might value.
The typical worth of a full tank was already about £12 larger in September than a 12 months earlier, the RAC stated, with rising oil costs placing extra upward strain on pump costs.
Each petrol and diesel had already reached ranges final seen in autumn 2013 and had been closing in on the all-time report set in April 2012, the RAC stated. Petrol was lower than 6p under the report of 142.48p a litre.
Unleaded petrol rose by 1.5p in September to 136.83p a litre, 22p costlier than final 12 months, whereas diesel rose by 2.5p to 139.25p, an increase of 21p on 2020 costs. This took the price of filling a 55-litre tank to £75.26 for petrol and £76.59 for diesel – for every about £12 greater than final 12 months.
The RAC stated the will increase weren’t related to the gas shortages that had affected forecourts throughout the UK in latest weeks brought on by a scarcity of tanker drivers and panic-buying by motorists.
The organisation as a substitute linked the costs to the price of oil, which elevated 10% in September and moved above $80 (£57) a barrel this week. The Wall Road financial institution Goldman Sachs has predicted additional rises, to $90 (£66), by Christmas.
The RAC’s gas spokesperson, Simon Williams, stated that oil demand was outpacing provide as economies start to select up tempo amid eased Covid restrictions, with the rise exacerbated by Opec opting to not improve oil flows considerably this week.
He stated: “[The trend] appears to be like more likely to spell additional distress for drivers on the pumps as we head in direction of Christmas … If this had been to occur we may see the typical worth of unleaded hit a brand new report of round 143p per litre. Diesel would shoot as much as 145p, which is barely 3p off the report excessive of 147.93 in April 2021.”
Williams added that, regardless of a number of remoted instances, costlier pump costs weren’t attributable to retailers exploiting the gas shortages to take benefit drivers.
Shortages had been easing on Tuesday, because the Petrol Retailers Affiliation (PRA) stated that about 64% of gas stations in London and south-east England, the areas worst hit by the disaster, had each petrol and diesel obtainable; beforehand the determine was 62%. Simply 15% had been dry, an enchancment on Monday’s 20%, whereas additional 21% had been providing both petrol or diesel, up from 18% a day earlier.
Nonetheless, the PRA govt director, Gordon Balmer, stated these areas had been nonetheless lagging behind the remainder of the nation, regardless of the deployment of troopers to drive gas tankers in order to plug a persistent shortfall of HGV drivers that had additionally affected provide chains within the retail and meals sectors.
The RAC stated its breakdown service had attended 13 occasions as many vehicles that had run out of gas as traditional.
Williams stated: “As forecourts’ gas shares return to regular drivers will inevitably swap from worrying about whether or not they can get the petrol or diesel they want, to simply how a lot a fill-up is costing them.
“Drivers in London and the south-east will undoubtedly really feel significantly arduous performed by as they’re nonetheless experiencing issues with getting maintain of gas whereas additionally paying the very best costs within the UK.”