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Bad news for drivers in the run up to Christmas

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Petrol and diesel prices could rise by up to 3p per litre in the run up to Christmas, the RAC has warned.

The price of Brent crude rose to $65.20 yesterday – its highest level since May 2015.

It comes as the main oil and gas pipeline system in the North Sea –  responsible for carrying 40% of the production – has been closed for a fortnight for emergency repairs.

The average price of unleaded currently stands at 120.76p a litre which is more than 6p a litre more expensive than it was in July, its 2017 low of 114.33p. Diesel is now at an average UK price of 123.21p a litre – more than 8p a litre above its cheapest price this year of 115.02p, also seen in July.

With pump prices predicted to rise by up to 3p a litre, this would take unleaded to 123.76p a litre and diesel to 126.21p a litre – their highest prices since November 2014.

For petrol drivers this would mean the cost of filling up a 55-litre family-sized car would go up by £1.65 to £68.07. A 3p higher diesel price would take the average forecourt litre to 126.21p which would mean a 55-litre tank would cost £69.42 – also an increase of £1.65.

Compared to February 2016, when both fuels were an average of 102p a litre, a petrol fill-up would be £12 more expensive while a diesel fill-up would be £13 dearer.

RAC fuel spokesperson, Simon Williams, said: “An increase of up to 3p a litre is very bad news for motorists who are already having to endure the highest prices at the pumps for three years. This closure will inevitably lead to an unwelcome increase in the price with the knock-on effect of raising the wholesale cost of both fuels.

“This really isn’t what drivers need at Christmas when many are travelling longer distances to spend time with family and friends. This will only serve to make the most expensive time of year even more costly.

“It is also a stark contrast to two years ago when the price of both petrol and diesel fell drastically as the price of oil crashed to below $40 a barrel in December giving rise to both fuels being sold for 99p a litre at the cheapest retailers.”

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