United Kingdom

Fuel prices rise to an EIGHT-YEAR high of £1.36 a litre as crisis grips Britain

Motorists are being hit by fuel prices rising to an eight-year high amid shortages at filling stations.

RAC figures show the average price for a litre of petrol across the UK increased from 135.87p on Friday to 136.59p on Sunday.

Pump prices have not been that high since September 2013.

Comedian Paul Chuckle took to Twitter to express his outrage at being charged 15p per litre more than the price advertised on the sign at a filling station.

Fuel experts said they expect pump prices will rise 3 to 10p per litre over the next few weeks - with the biggest hikes in recent days happening in rural areas.

Dozens of cars snaked back in lines from petrol stations across the country over the weekend, swallowing up supplies and forcing many petrol stations to simply close.

Drivers also claimed diesel prices had gone up by as much as 8p in a few days, while others said some petrol stations were turning off their digital price display boards.

The latest data for average UK fuel prices from Experian Catalist was 136.69p for petrol last Friday, up from the latest official Government figure of 134.86p last week.

The RAC warned that the situation could worsen as retailers pass on the cost of rising wholesale prices.

The wholesale price of petrol rose from 123.25p on Monday September 20 to 125.22p just four days later.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: 'When it comes to pump prices, it's a pretty bleak picture for drivers. 

'With the cost of oil rising and now near a three-year high, wholesale prices are being forced up which means retailers are paying more than they were just a few days ago for the same amount of fuel. 

'This has led to the price of a litre of unleaded already going up by a penny since Friday.

'We might yet see higher forecourt prices in the coming days, irrespective of the current supply problems. 

'We are also aware of a small number of retailers taking advantage of the current delivery situation by hiking prices, so we'd remind drivers to always compare the price they're being asked to pay with the current UK averages which are 136.69p for petrol and 138.58p for diesel.' 

The latest data for average UK fuel prices from Experian Catalist was 136.69p for petrol last Friday

Conservative MP Robert Halfon told MailOnline today: 'The chaos at the pumps in recent days has resulted in huge hikes in petrol prices. Motorists are now seeing extremely high prices when they fill up at a time of great financial uncertainty.

'It's the hardworking motorists and their families, like those in my own constituency of Harlow, that depend on their vehicles to earn a living, who are being hit the hardest.'

His fellow Tory MP Craig Mackinlay also told MailOnline: 'It's disappointing to see reports of pump price profiteering in some areas of the country.

'The recent spike in demand for petrol and diesel caused by the confected panic has led to unnecessary pressure at our fuelling stations. But I would urge retailers not to take advantage of the situation – drivers have long memories.

'Many people need the freedom and flexibility of the car to do their work in crucial sectors so all should act responsibly in filling up their cars, but we also need trustworthy pricing at the pumps.'

Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK Campaign, told MailOnline: 'On average I am hearing via FairFuelUK Supporters, that price increases, 5p to 10p increases are the norm in the last few days.

'For example I'm hearing in Ashford, Kent they were all queuing up for fuel at one filling station on the A20 in Maidstone on Saturday, they put their prices up to £1.48 a litre to profiteer from it.

'Shell in particular are selling at £1.479, Texaco £1.459. Supermarkets remain at about £1.33. Ironically it seems petrol is the one being hiked most hitting ordinary families, with diesel less so.

'Several garages have contacted FairFuelUK in confidence, saying their greedy wholesalers are pushing up bulk supply prices, not based on oil costs, but because of this latest panic demand.

'Opportunism at its lowest. Some are saying there will have to be longer term rationing causing more conflicts at their pumps. Totally unnecessary, as there is no fuel supply issue, just that perennial pre warned driver shortage.' 

Motoring experts at The AA said retailers individually increase the price to either try to deter those topping up their tanks unnecessarily, or try to recover some of the lost income from drivers buying fuel only and not shopping within the store.

A spokesman said: 'At some point, many of the retailers decide to cap the amount people can buy in one go. It normally dials down the frenzy but it can put shop staff in a difficult position as some customers try their luck or get argumentative.'

Blackburn-based petrol station retail group EG made a company-imposed limit of £30 per customer, which The AA said may have taken some of the pressure off staff. 

Motorists wait for fuel in Ascot, Berkshire, this morning which is charging 143.8p for petrol

Vehicles queue to refill at a Texaco petrol station in London today as panic buying continues

In the winter of 2010, heavy snow impacted fuel supplies in Scotland, which led to panic buying – but all forecourts across Glasgow then declared a £20 limit.

Chuckle, star of BBC show ChuckleVision, tweeted on Saturday: 'Texaco A1 advertise £1-39 per litre outside, come to pay and it's £1-54,99p per litre. Disgusting. Oh dear, oh dear, not like me to rant. Boris Johnson, please get lorry drivers back.'

Texaco declined to comment when approached by MailOnline last night. Other drivers also claimed that petrol stations had put up their prices in recent days.

Among them was Callum Dunlop, a 24-year-old electrical engineer, who tweeted yesterday: 'I filled up my car (diesel) at 137.9 a couple of weeks ago.

'Two nights ago when panic buying started prices had risen to 149.9 in the same garage, last night that same garage was charging 157.9 with petrol seeing a similar price hike.'

Another, John Pile, said: 'I came across a petrol station yesterday where the queue wasn't bad (7-8 minutes), so I joined it and filled up.

'While there, the queue extended miles down the road as word obviously spread it was accessible. They then put the price up. Just proves people are causing hysteria.'

And a third tweeted: 'I've noticed petrol stations are turning the price display off so you don't know how much they are charging until you lift the pump.' 

A fourth said: 'Pushing prices up even further too. Went past one of those 'budget' stations yesterday and it was dearer than my usual ultimate premium petrol. Going to price people off the road, even if there is enough left.'

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams told MailOnline: 'While there's no shortage of fuel at refineries, panic buying over the weekend means every forecourt in the country needs to re-stock at the same time which puts unbelievable pressure on the supply chain. 

'We urge the Government to do everything in its power to plug the gaps in the supply chain and keep deliveries moving normally. But as so many drivers filled up over the weekend, there should be less overall demand as long as fuel makes its way back on to forecourts in the next few days.

'We urge drivers to only take the fuel they really need. Stock piling in containers only makes the situation worse for those who desperately need fuel as well as potentially causing unnecessary fire risks if not stored correctly. 

'It's also vitally important the emergency services and businesses that help to keep the UK moving can get access to fuel. We have also seen an increase in our patrols attending drivers who have run out of fuel over the weekend.' 

Meanwhile, the Environment Secretary said today that the Government has 'no plans at the moment' to use the Army to drive petrol tankers amid continuing shortages at filling stations.

George Eustice said there was not a shortage of fuel and called on motorists to stop 'panic buying' petrol and return to their normal pattern of purchasing. 

This official Government graph shows the rise in petrol prices over the past year to 134.86p

People push as a car, which has run out of petrol, the final few meters on to the forecourt as vehicles queue to refill at a Texaco fuel station in South London last night

Industry leaders have warned drafting in the Army will not on its own end the shortages on the forecourts.

The Petrol Retailers Association chairman Brian Madderson confirmed some training had been taking place 'in the background' for military personnel.

But he warned it was not an 'absolute panacea' and that there was no 'single lever' the Government and the industry could pull to resolve the crisis.

With long queues at filling stations continuing over the weekend, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng announced yesterday that he was temporarily suspending competition laws to allow the industry to share information so it can target areas where fuel supply is running low.

The move came after Mr Johnson said the Government was creating 5,000 three-month visas for foreign lorry drivers in an attempt to ease the pressure on hauliers, which has been blamed over the problems.

A statement by Shell, ExxonMobile and other industry bodies again insisted there was no 'national shortage of fuel' and that the pressures on supply were the result of 'temporary spikes in customer demand'.

** Seen a very high petrol price today? Please email: [email protected] ** 

Eight pounds a litre! Petrol station puts up prices to ridiculous levels… before revealing that it was a joke 

Top Garage Bromyard Limited, a Pace filing station in Herefordshire, was actually charging 138.9p a litre for petrol

A petrol station in rural Herefordshire caused a stir after jokingly raising its petrol prices to £7.99 a litre to see if any motorists spotted the error.

Top Garage Bromyard Limited, a Pace filing station, was actually charging a more reasonable 138.9p a litre - but wanted to see the reaction of motorists if they put up the price to an outrageous figure.

They started off by putting it up to 198.9p per litre, before making it 799.9p for a short period over the weekend. 

Nigel Davis, director of the garage, told MailOnline today: 'We've been extremely busy, and I had to get an extra member of the team to help direct traffic. And I said what we'll do is we'll change the pole sign but not the price of the pumps, and we'll see how many people complain.

'So we changed the pole sign and not one customer noticed it or making a comment. Then we started asking people what they were paying for it, and they didn't care.'

He continued: 'I proved a point by saying that people do not always look at the pole. Our fuel on site at the time we were doing was 138.9p unleaded and 140.9p diesel. We had a bit of fun, but we have kept most customers going.'

Mr Davis added that the petrol station opened at 7am today and queues were already forming before they sold two days' worth of fuel in the first hour of business, despite them restricting it to £20 per customer and then £10.

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