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Petrol price hits record high at UK pumps

The price of petrol in Britain hit a record high of 149.94 pence ($2.05) per litre, the RAC motoring organisation said on Monday.

The previous record at the pumps, set in April 2012, was broken on Sunday as global oil prices rise dramatically, doubling from around $40 a barrel a year ago to $85 now.

The price of diesel fuel in Britain, at 146.5 pence ia litre, is also nearing its 2012 record. 

"This is truly a dark day for drivers, and one which we hoped we wouldn’t see again after the high prices of April 2012," said RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams.

"This will 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?"

Factors beyond the oil price hike have fed into the price rise at the pumps.

September’s switch to greener E10 petrol also played a part, as has the margin retailers are taking on every litre sold which is now greater than it was prior to the start of the pandemic.

On September 1, the bio content of unleaded petrol increased from 5 percent ethanol to 10 percent, and as ethanol is more expensive than petrol, it added around a penny a litre to the cost to motorists.

The biggest element of the price paid by British consumers is tax.

Duty at 57.95 pence a litre exceeds the combined bio and petrol components which amount to around 50 percent, leading to calls from the RAC and others for the government to drop VAT on petrol to tame the price.

According to RAC data, the price of unleaded petrol has "rocketed" over the past year, adding 15 pounds to the cost of filling up a family car.

Oil prices pressed higher on world markets on Monday, with the mail international contract, Brent, at a three-year high above $86 per barrel. Meanwhile the main US oil contract, WTI, rose above $85 for the first time since October 2014.

The latest gains for crude come after Saudi Arabia said OPEC and other major producers would be cautious in lifting output despite surging demand, warning that the pandemic still posed a threat to the outlook.

Petrol prices at the pump have also broken records in France and Germany.

Topics: global oil prices , Britain , COVID-19 pandemic , Saudi Arabia , petrol
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