UK petrol price hits all-time high amid oil market pressure

Average price rises to 142.94p a litre on Sunday, while diesel is still a little short of its previous record

UK petrol prices have hit their highest level on record in a blow to hard-hit households and small businesses, and could rise further in the coming weeks as the global energy crisis drives oil markets to a three-year high. The average daily price for a litre reached 142.94p on Sunday, in what was described as a “truly dark day for drivers”, surpassing the all-time record 142.48p reached on 16 April 2012, according to data from the RAC/Experian.

The new high, which was predicted by analysts late last week, is 28p a litre more than a year ago, when petrol cost about 114.5p. This will add more than £15 to the cost of filling up a family car with a 55-litre tank, to about £78.61 from £63 last October, piling further financial pressure on households this winter. Petrol prices have climbed steadily in line with global oil market prices, which have more than doubled from about $40 (£29) a barrel a year ago to about $85 in recent weeks because of a sudden rise in post-pandemic energy demand.

The price of Brent crude reached $86.50 a barrel on Monday afternoon – the highest since October 2018 – an increase that is likely to result in further price increases at the pumps. Simon Williams, a spokesperson for the RAC, said it was “a truly a dark day for drivers” that would “hurt many household budgets and no doubt have knock-on implications for the wider economy”. He added:“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.”