A storm in America is set to rocket the price of petrol in the UK

A storm in America is set to rocket the price of petrol in the UK
The RAC expects the price of petrol to overtake that of diesel for the first time in more than a year next week – and stay there for some time.

Hitting highs not seen in over two-and-a-half years, the petrol price is surging with Storm Harvey in the US putting limitations on the supply chain.

It is anticipated that the cost of a litre of unleaded will shoot to 121p or above from early next week, with diesel expected to remain stable.

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The hike in petrol at the pumps could be as pronounced as 4p a litre, the RAC says, taking the price to its highest since December 2014, and higher than diesel for the first time since June last year.

As Storm Harvey continues to batter large parts of the southern US, particularly Texas and Louisiana, several key Gulf Coast refineries have been forced to halt production, ramping up demand.

Around a quarter of the refining capacity in the States has been affected, leading to a four million-barrel shortfall each day that goes by.

RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: “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 and production in the Gulf Coast returns to normal - to meet the United States’ immense appetite for gasoline.”

Mr Williams adds: “Crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico is down 13.5%. In response, oil traders are acting to redirect fuel to the US ahead of the busy Labor Day weekend surge in travel.

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“Americans are wedded to their petrol engines and while they have been endeavouring to become more self-sufficient through increased fracking they are now having to buy more unleaded from overseas which is reducing the availability of unleaded for the rest of the world.

“We have already seen the wholesale price of unleaded increase by 5p in just the last week and the ongoing crisis in the state of Texas could have a prolonged impact on demand and, in turn, the wholesale price – so we may see further price increases on the UK forecourt.”

The average price of a litre of unleaded on Thursday 31 August was 117.29p and diesel was 118.14p.

In July the UK government announced its intention to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040, following in the footsteps of the likes of France, as the world’s developed nations move towards more sustainable, eco-friendly transport options.

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.