More misery for drivers as UK sees largest rise in petrol prices since records began

Petrol protesters slammed by Mike Parry

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The price of petrol rose 12 pence per litre between February and March, the largest monthly hike since records began in 1990, revealed the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It comes as inflation in the UK hit a 30-year high of seven percent.

The rise compares with an increase of just 3.5p per litre during the same period last year.

Diesel prices also rose by 18.8p per litre this year and this week has seen fuel stations either running out of the fuel or closing altogether.

Fuel rises have been mainly driven by the global cost of oil, with prices above $100 (£76) per barrel for Brent crude.

Prices peaked at 14-year highs of $139 (£105) per barrel last month following the imposing of sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

Luke Bosdet, spokesperson for motoring group AA, explained that a 12.6 pence increase adds nearly £7 to the cost of filling a typical 55-litre family care tank.

He said: “That is a heavy hit on a family, pensioners or low-income workers suffering from the current cost of living crisis.”

Petrol prices have however slightly dipped from the record highs recorded in late March – when unleaded petrol reached 167.3p per litre and diesel soared to 179.9p.

But according to the RAC, petrol still costs 162.5p per litre on average and diesel 176.5p per litre.

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That’s despite Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s recent 5p cut in fuel duty which was roundly criticised as being too little to make a difference.

Mr Bosdet added: “In reality, the pump price should be much lower, with the fall in the price of oil being feeding lower fuel costs heading to the forecourts.

“With Easter due shortly, it won’t have gone unnoticed among drivers that petrol across the UK started this week averaging 162.44p a litre and diesel 176.73p.

“Last Easter (April 4, 2021) petrol was 125.30p and diesel 129.11p. That is a huge difference.”

Meanwhile this week saw climate activism groups Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion continue to organise protests and demonstrations designed to block key fuel terminals across the country.

They said they will not stop causing chaos for motorists until the Government agrees to stop all new fossil fuel investments without delay.

People taking part in the demonstrations glued themselves to roads and locked themselves to oil drums.

Supply lines have already been placed under severe pressure owing to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and increased demand following the end of Covid lockdowns.

Sanctions placed on Russia have reduced supplies coming from Moscow, while there are also fewer open refineries as a lasting legacy of the pandemic.

Forecourts have placed signs at their entrances to notify motorists of the lack of supplies and to prevent queues from forming.

Howard Cox, Founder of the FairFuelUK Campaign, has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “get on top” of the protests and “protect the supply of petrol and diesel to our garage forecourts”.

He said: “Don’t let panic buying take over again with those long unnecessary queues we saw last year when you failed to act.

“Our economy and millions of daily lives depend on their vehicles. There is no need to wait until it gets too late to act. So please secure the fuel supply chain now!”

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