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Fuel crisis: UK petrol prices hit eight-year high

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Fuel crisis: UK petrol prices hit eight-year high
Many UK stations have run out of petrol as fuel prices hit their highest point in eight years. Photo: Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

Fuel prices hit their highest point in eight years, with petrol costing 136.1p a litre, as the fuel crisis filters through to consumers.

New government figures released today showed that average petrol prices rose 0.91p a litre in a week from 135.19p last week to 136.1p on Tuesday, and diesel rose by 1.7p from 137.9p to 139.2p.

Fuel prices haven't reached these levels since September 2013, when petrol hit 135.9p. Diesel hit 139.15p in October 2013. 

With forecourt stocks low or non-existent, any new stock will be bought at the higher wholesale levels which will see pump prices rising by up to 3p per litre, said the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA).  

Watch: Demand for fuel sees soldiers doing deliveries across UK

The PRA says that such rises are not “gouging” or “profiteering” by retailers during the present fuel crisis but "entirely the result of global factors converging at the same time." 

The price of Brent Crude oil has risen by over 50% this year and this has been exacerbated by the recent weakening of pound sterling versus the US dollar. In just over 12 months, pump prices in the UK have surged by over 25p per litre hitting consumer pockets as higher inflation bites, the PRA explained.

Read more: Price inflation accelerates at fastest pace on record in UK services sector

Price rises come following periods of panic buying, which saw petrol stations inundated by queues. 

The HGV driver shortage in the UK is exacerbating the issue, as new supplies of fuel are now taking longer to be delivered. 

On Monday, the government deployed the army to send fresh supplies to forecourts around the country. 

London and the South East appeared to be the worst-affected areas.

“We are working closely with industry to help increase fuel stocks and there are signs of improvement in average forecourt stocks across the UK with demand continuing to stabilise,” a government spokesperson said.

Based on returns from hauliers, the total projected impact of the initial military deployment on London and the South-East is estimated to be an additional 1.55 million litres per day from Monday 4 October, rising to 2.6 million litres per day by Thursday 7 October.

Read more: Greggs warns of rising costs, labour shortages and supply chain woes

Prime minister Boris Johnson warned on Sunday the disruption could extend to Christmas, acknowledging the country is going through a "period of adjustment" post-Brexit.

As part of the effort to abate supply chain woes the government said it would implement a temporary visa scheme for 5,000 foreign food haulage drivers. This was originally due to expire on Christmas eve, however has since been extended to the end of February following outcry over how attractive it would actually be for drivers.

Watch: Sunak insists fuel crisis is improving as army is deployed

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