How will the post-Harvey petrol price hike affect the UK?

By Nick Wagstaff
News entry dated 06th Sep 2017

The RAC has warned that the UK could see petrol prices rise above those of diesel in the next few days and weeks as a result of the disruption caused by Hurricane Harvey in the main oil-producing regions of the US. It is predicting that the price of unleaded could rise by as much as 4 pence per litre, taking average prices above the 121 pence mark.

This kind of price hasn’t been seen since December 2014. It is due to one-quarter of the oil refining capacity of America being offline due to the devastation caused by the hurricane. Added to that, demand in the US for petrol has increased, which can also drive up prices.

Average prices

According to RAC spokesman Pete Williams, these issues are already affecting the forecourts in the UK. The average price of petrol stood at 117.29 pence per litre at the end of August, while the diesel price was 118.14 pence. However, this is likely to rise over coming days to 121 pence for unleaded and around 118.5 pence for diesel.

This would make it the first time this year that the average price of unleaded would be higher than that of diesel. Experts also think the price is liable to stay at these rates for some time, until the oil industry is able to get back to full production levels.

Seasonal factors

Experts are also quick to point out that the effect of Hurricane Harvey isn’t as severe as that of Hurricane Katrina, which struck over the August bank holiday weekend in 2005. Katrina added 5 pence per litre to the price of petrol within a matter of a few days. The price dropped back down a few days later.

While Katrina destroyed the infrastructure used to create the petrol, Harvey has only caused infrastructure to be shut down temporarily.

Prices were already rising in August due to seasonal factors and a general increase in the price of a barrel of crude oil, which reached £40 a barrel by the end of the month. In the US, demand for petrol would also be higher than normal due to the Labor Day weekend.

The crude oil price per barrel on the 6th September 2017 was at 48.88 per barrel.

 

Hurricane Harvey wrecks Valero fuel station.

(Credit – Gas Station Damages, US Dept. of Defense)

 

How to avoid the increases

There are things that you can do the avoid the increases as much as possible. For starters, use the PetrolPrices service to find out where in your area has the cheapest fuel. This is often the supermarkets.  Be sure to avoid places that are more expensive – motorway services are usually the priciest places to fill up. If you’re taking a long trip, remember to fill up at your local supermarket station before you set off.

In addition, regular maintenance can help keep your car working in top condition, which can help minimize petrol consumption. Small touches, such as having properly inflated tyres, wheels that are aligned and regularly servicing spark plugs and filters, can help the car run at peak efficiency and thus use less fuel.

Even reducing what you leave in the car can help it run better and use less fuel. If you’re just driving to the shops or around town, look at what is in the boot and see if there is anything you can leave behind. According to the RAC, you can save around 2% of fuel for every 50kg you remove from the car. Don’t leave behind essentials such as safety equipment, but look at what else you carry around and might not need.

Have you already seen the affects of Hurricane Harvey at the pumps? What tactics do you use to reduce your fuel spend? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Comments

28 Comments on "How will the post-Harvey petrol price hike affect the UK?"

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Davey P
Davey P

Why should what happens in America affect OUR prices? We produce our own oil, refine our own petrol and distribute ourselves accordingly…….nothing to do with hurricanes!!!

marsaday
marsaday

I work at an oil refinery here in the UK and we export Gasoline to the States.

James
James

exactly can’t agree more

Mike E
Mike E

…Meanwhile, having read the above, why are Diesel prices going up as fast as petrol? Less to do with Harvey, more to do with Greedy!

Petrol pirate
Petrol pirate

Amazing instantly goes up where’s the government because when it does get back to normal it’ll take months to get it back to where it was, and most probably will not actually go back to pre rip off price.
Government needs a watchdog ASAP fining the rip off garages and companies

mike boulton
mike boulton

My thoughts too Davey P.
Any excuse to increase prices

Cynical beggar
Cynical beggar

The petroleum industry just love it do not they ? They sit wait and pray for the next thing to blame price increases on…..!

SteveR
SteveR

petrol & diesel prices have just gone up from 1.129 to £1.149 up here in Wirral. You cannot tell me that prices have fillter though for the states this quick. The goverment will be rubbing their hands together.

Suru
Suru

Oil companies hike the price whenever they get an opportunity to do so by citing condition elsewhere in the world. When it comes to oil prices dip consumers do not get the benefit of reduced prices. Governments need to check such price hike that should not be allowed

Margaret knowles
Margaret knowles

I have found that filling up at the roadside garage like Shell Essex and BP and not supermarkets give me more miles per gallon . Has anyone any views one this.

Wiser Person
Wiser Person

Yes I agree you get better fuel with additives by going to Shell / BP etc a bit dearer but cheaper in the long run! I stopped using the Supermarket Diesel as it caused two of my cars to have issues with the Diesel Particle Filters becoming blocked up and needing garage repairs. No issues since switching a few years ago to Shell Fuel Saver Diesel

Pastyash@aol.com

Take foot off the gas and watch your miles to the gallon on your car computer see how high you can go. driving to allow your speed to be safe for others

Liam
Liam

Cartel! When the price of the barrel drops these places don’t drop prices because they buy in advance, when the price goes up petrol prices rise in line! The mind boggles

russ
russ

hardly any of our soil is imported from the states, google it. pack of lies used as an excuse to increase prices

robbie
robbie

I didn’t know we imported “soil” from the US. Is it bagged or in bulk ?

Petrol pirate
Petrol pirate

Unleaded 1:22.9
Diesel 1.23.9
Canterbury

Contax
Contax

Diesel increased by 6p per litre in last few weeks at Morrisons Scunthorpe.

Lee
Lee

Whilst the price of diesel is meant to be staying put almost, the fuel stations in my area have seen this as an opportunity to put both prices up and diesel is 2ppl more than petrol. This is having a huge impact on my budget.

Captain Gary Lam
Captain Gary Lam
Petrol prices rise is a scam by the refining companies like Shell, Esso etc etc. I have pointed out and seek help in taking the guilty companies to task but no one and no organization is interested. Here are the facts: When oil prices were at $50-$60 a barrel, the price at the pump was around 70-80 pence a liter. Due to speculators and greedy companies, when the price of oil hit over $100 a barrel and approached $150 a barrel the price of petrol at the pump went up to about £1.30 – £1.45 pence a litre. Price of… Read more »
Nigel Davis
Nigel Davis

Very quickly because I’ve said enough already.

To answer Margaret’s point, it’s known that supermarket petrol is of a slightly inferior quality to franchised outlets – that’s why it is slightly cheaper normally because of the keener wholesale price.

michele
michele

Our went from 117 to 121 in belfast

Nigel Davis
Nigel Davis

My Volvo estate and the previous one have both run on LPG, usually half the retail price of petrol. Therefore, in cost terms you are doing almost twice the normal mpg. Installat-
ion costs are £2k plus, but worth the punt on a fairly new/ low-mileage vehicle that you
intend to keep. Last time around, I calculated that it would pay for itself over 13k miles –
I eventually did 130k! One last point, its cleaner and greener which must serve to extend
the life of the engine!

Sheila
Sheila

Any excuse is better than none. Thought some of our oil came from the middle east? Evetything revolves around USA.

Glenn Arnold
Glenn Arnold

No government will ever question fuel prices other than with empty words, too much to be made from it from those at the top. Same with the toothless promises made regarding the utilities.

Cynical beggar
Cynical beggar

I have to agree Glenn……But for world leaders they are not very clever are they ?….They want to do away with petrol and diesel cars………What about their revenue ? Talk about killing the goose that Lay’s the golden egg ?

Glenn S
Glenn S

Cynical Beggar, the UK government only cares about revenue. They would be in a panic if everyone converted to electricity. Same as, despite all the kidology, they dont want everyone to stop smoking and drinking. They make far to much money from it. Why is Scottish made whiskey more expensive to buy in the UK than anywhere else in the world? Answer is lots of shekals pouring into HMRC.

Deano
Deano

They want us to come away from petrol n diesel for a more eco electric one but at the same time collecting more n more revenue from our utility companies and then create more greenhouse gasses. Once all is on electric cars it will sore in price as well

Robert Dudgeon
Robert Dudgeon

Within 5 miles of us in West Kent the average price of unleaded petrol is already 123.5 pence per litre. Are our suppliers ahead of the game, or just greedy?

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