Why is the petrol price so high right now?

The average petrol price in the UK has hit £1.58 per litre – here's everything you need to know, including how the RAC wants the Government to ease the pressure on motorists...

Cupra Formentor passing petrol station

Chancellor Rishi Sunak should temporarily cut VAT on fuel to help ease the burden of rising petrol prices, says the RAC.

As fuel prices hit record levels, the motoring organisation called for VAT on fuel to be reduced from 20% to 15% or less. Currently, 26p of the cost of each litre is VAT, while 58p is for fuel duty. Fuel duty in the UK has been frozen since 2011.

The Chancellor is due to make his Spring Budget statement on March 23. 

The average price of a litre of petrol hit £1.58 per litre today – rising almost 2p per litre overnight from yesterday's price. Meanwhile, the average price of a litre of diesel was £1.65 – a rise of almost 3p per litre overnight.

The RAC says the daily increase in the price of diesel was the largest since 2000. The average cost of filling up a 55-litre family car with petrol is now £87 – £7 more than it would have cost at the start of the year.

Mini petrol station

The price of fuel was already high, but started to soar when Russia launched military action in Ukraine. Russia is one of the world’s largest energy producers, and although the UK imports just 6% of its crude oil from the country, prices here are affected by global costs rising.

Within days of the invasion of Ukraine, the price of a barrel of crude oil rose by 4.6% to $102 per barrel, and rose as high as $139 per barrel following news that the US and other countries would limit their supply of Russian energy.

Oil prices were already high because of increasing demand for fuel following the easing or ending of coronavirus restrictions in some parts of the world. Oil production by many of the world’s largest suppliers has struggled to keep pace.

Petrol pump

To help you cope with the rise in costs, we've put together 10 tips to help you save fuel, or if you're in the market for a new car, you can see which models return the best real-world fuel economy based on our True MPG tests. You can also use our free fuel comparison tool to see whether a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully electric car could help you to save money.

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