Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Could unleaded get to £1.50 a litre?

There's been wild talk today about the price oil leaping to $150 a barrel as a result of the terrible events in Libya and problems elsewhere.

That still looks far off, but what is the connection between the price of crude oil and the the cost of filling up with petrol or diesel in the UK?

Unleaded is at a record 128.97p and diesel at a record 134.34p and they're rising.

As a ready reckoner, assuming that exchange rates remain stable, some observers would pencil in a one penny rise in the price of fuel for each $2 rise in the price of crude.

So the current price of $110 for a barrel of Brent crude could already presage a rise in the price of petrol of several pence.

At the same time the Petrol Retailers' Association warns that duty increases in the Budget, in March, could add another 5p.

What happens in the Budget is a moot point at the moment, but that could take us close to 140p for a litre of petrol.

And if crude oil puts on another $30 or more, then 150p a litre comes in sight.

As I say, this scenario still seems far off, but it's scary and there seems little doubt that our fuel prices will rise higher even if the price of crude stays where it is.

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