Fuel prices have risen to a new all-time high at the pump in the United Kingdom, putting the strain on UK consumers, according to the AA.
Petrol touched a new record high of 148.02p per litre over the weekend, while diesel hit a new record high of 151.57p per litre last Thursday.
In November, wholesale and retail fuel prices reached new highs, before falling down.
The AA’s Luke Bosdet remarked, “The cost of living crisis has been ratcheted up yet another notch,”
The cost of fuelling a 55-litre family car is now a “eye-watering” £81.41, according to RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams.
“With oil prices teetering on the brink of $100 a barrel and retailers eager to pass on the wholesale fuel price increase as soon as possible,” he added, “new records could be set on a daily basis in the coming weeks.”
Fuel prices at the pump are mostly determined by the wholesale price of energy, which has risen owing to concerns about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Oil prices rose to $95.56 a barrel on Monday, the highest level since 2014.
If the situation in Ukraine worsens, oil and gas shipments from Russia to Europe might be disrupted, causing wholesale prices to rise even more.
Oil and gas supplies has already failed to keep up with rising demand as the global economy has improved in recent months, thanks to the relaxation of Covid restrictions.
Mr Williams of the RAC said: “On a positive note, retailer margins – which were the reason drivers paid overly high prices in December and January – have now returned to more normal levels of around 7p a litre.”
He believes that the top four supermarkets, who control the majority of petrol sales, should “play fair” with drivers by keeping profit margins low.
Food, utility bills, and other products such as second-hand automobiles have all risen dramatically in recent months, owing in part to rising energy prices.
Inflation in the United Kingdom has reached a 30-year high of 5.4 percent. The Office for National Statistics will announce new inflation numbers for January on Wednesday.
Mr Bosdet said the AA polled 15,000 of its members after petrol prices climbed at the end of last year and found that 43 percent of them were cutting back on how much they drove as well as other areas of spending.
What happens to energy prices next, according to Mike Johnson of energy consultant Portland Analytics, depends on both the situation in Ukraine and whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is able to expand supplies.
“OPEC and its allies have struggled to increase production in line with their output targets due to a combination of production outages and technical issues, whilst demand continues to rise,” he added.
While oil-producing countries agreed in February to raise output by 400,000 barrels per day, Mr Johnson said it was improbable that the target would be attained.