UK petrol prices could rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

Warns RAC

UK drivers could see the price of unleaded petrol rise as a result of disruption caused by Hurricane Harvey in the US, the RAC has warned.

The industry body said the price of a litre of unleaded petrol could rise by up to 4p per litre, taking the average price above 121p, a level not seen since December 2014.

Data from RAC Fuel Watch shows that this rise would also mean the average price of a litre of unleaded would move above that of diesel, something that has not happened in the UK since early June 2016.

RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: “The price of unleaded petrol will leapfrog diesel early next week, rising by up to 4p per litre as the impact of Storm Harvey and the shut-down of large refineries in the Gulf Coast drives up US demand for petrol imports.

“The average price of a litre of unleaded on Thursday, 31 August was 117.29p and diesel was 118.14p but we could see unleaded rise in the coming days to around 121p a litre, with diesel likely to stay stable around 118.5p.

“This will be the first time unleaded has been higher than diesel since June 2016 and we expect this to be the case for some time to come, or at least until the US oil industry is able to get refineries back into operation”

However, AA fuel price spokesman Luke Bosdet told the BBC that any price rises needed to be seen in context and further prices could be ‘quite modest’.

“Petrol prices were already heading up because of the increase in the price of oil since mid August,” he said.

“But they still have a little way to go before reaching the 119p of April and 120p of February.”

He added: “This is not Hurricane Katrina, which hit around the August bank holiday of 2005 and added 5p to a litre of pump petrol in a matter of days - before starting to fall back shortly afterwards.

“Katrina destroyed oil infrastructure, Harvey has just disrupted it.”

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