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Gulf crisis: fuel to rise by at least 2p a litre, says RAC

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The price of fuel will go up by at least 2p a litre in the next two weeks as tensions in the Gulf heighten, the RAC has warned.

The oil price has been climbing since the US assassination last week of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

On Monday, the price of Brent crude rose to above $70 a barrel for the first time in eight months over concerns of disruption to supplies after Iran threatened a military response to the attack.

RAC fuel spokesman, Simon Williams, said: “Increasing tension between Washington and Tehran will cause the oil price to go up as traders worry about availability of supply. This will inevitably spell bad news for drivers at the pumps in the UK.

“As things stand, it looks like at least 2p a litre will be added to the price of both petrol and diesel in the next two weeks. If the current situation in the Middle East was to escalate however, drivers could be looking at far greater increases at UK forecourts.”

Petrol prices had already started to rise in December after four months of declines as a result of the US and China cooling their 17-month trade war.

As China is one of the world’s biggest consumers of oil the dispute had been suppressing the price of crude due to lower demand – much to the benefit of UK drivers at the pumps – until last month, the RAC said.

Both petrol and diesel have also been subject to an annual EU renewable fuel obligation rise which has led to 1p a litre being added from the start of January.

How to save money on fuel

If you are keen to save money at the pump, here are six top tips to consider:

a) Shop around for the cheapest fuel

Download the PetrolPrices app to keep you updated on the latest fuel prices while you’re on the road. It has all the filters you need to make sure you find the best fuel near you.

b) Make the most of loyalty offers

The big supermarkets often tempt customers into their shops by reducing their fuel prices. Sometimes they’ll offer money-off vouchers at the till for use at their forecourts, and discounts can be as high as 10 pence per litre – £5 per fill up.

c) Think about your speed

You’ll use up to 9 per cent more fuel driving at 70mph than you would at 60mph and up to 25 per cent more fuel travelling at 80mph instead of 70mph. Drive at the lowest speed you can, in the highest gear possible.

d) Get clever with hills

Steep inclines destroy fuel economy. If you spot a hill ahead, slightly speed up before you reach it, then reduce speed as you drive up.

e) Don’t use your air conditioning unless you have to

It uses the power of the engine which increases fuel consumption.

f) Consider making one round trip instead of several short trips. 

Engines work at their most efficient once warm. Starting a cold engine several times increases fuel consumption, even though your journey may involve the same number of miles. 

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