RAC warns that petrol could rise by 3p per litre before Christmas as wholesale gas prices hit highest level for six year

Petrol prices could rise by 3p per litre before Christmas, the RAC has warned, as wholesale gas prices hit their highest level for six years.  

Filling up a 55-litre family car could therefore be £1.65 more expensive than currently, the motoring organisation said. 

The price of Brent crude surged by more than 1.5 per cent to 65.72 – hitting its highest level since the middle of 2015 – in response to the supply being turned off at the Forties pipeline after a crack was found in it. 

Operator Ineos said the pipeline, which carries 40 per cent of the North Sea oil and gas, could be offline for up to three weeks as it is repaired. 

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,” said RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams. “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.

He added: “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 (£30) a barrel in December giving rise to both fuels being sold for 99p a litre at the cheapest retailers.”

The extra pressure on global supply came as markets continued to react to the Opec-led decision to extend production cuts at the beginning of the month.

Separately, UK natural gas prices churned out double-digit growth to reach 73.7p a therm on ICE Futures Europe following an explosion at a natural gas plant in Austria.

One person died in the blast and 21 were injured at the plant in Baumgarten an der March, east of Vienna, which transports a significant amount of European gas.

It is feared that householders may face higher prices for heating as a result.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, an MP who sits on Parliament’s energy select…

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