RAC Fuel Watch data has revealed petrol prices reached a record high yesterday (24 October), hitting an average cost of 142.94p per litre, eclipsing the previous level of 142.48p seen on 16 April 2012.

The data reveals unleaded has increased by 28p per litre since October last year. Diesel is also edging closer to hitting its own record as well, currently standing at 146.50p, only 1.5p off the April 2012 record of 147.93p.

The record high petrol prices have been largely caused by the cost of oil more than doubling from $40 to $85 over the past year.

However, another factor playing a part is the September changeover to E10 petrol. Ethanol is accounting for 8.5p per litre, while pure petrol adds around 41p.

The RAC warned it would be little surprise if the price of ethanol went up further still – since E10 was introduced, it has risen in price by 52%. Duty then costs another 57.95p per litre, while VAT is accounting for 23.69p, and is added on top of other elements, including retailer margin.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “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. This will hurt many household budgets and no doubt have knock-on implications for the wider economy.”

“The big question now is: where will it stop and what price will petrol hit? If oil gets to $100 a barrel, we could very easily see the average price climb to 150p a litre.”

“Even though many people aren’t driving as much as they have in the past due to the pandemic, drivers tell us they are just as reliant on their cars, and many simply don’t have a choice but to drive. Those on lower incomes who have to drive to work will seriously struggle to find the extra money for the petrol they so badly need.”

“We urge the Government to help ease the burden at the pumps by temporarily reducing VAT and for the biggest retailers to bring the amount they make on every litre of petrol back down to the level it was prior to the pandemic.”

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