Storm Harvey pushes up UK petrol price

1 September 2017

UK petrol prices could spike over the next few days as Storm Harvey hits US oil production.

The RAC has warned forecourt petrol prices could increase by 4p to around 121 pence per litre (ppl) as the US increases its imports to make up for the shortfall in domestic production caused by the storm.

Prices in the UK are expected to hit their highest since December 2014, and top diesel prices for the first time since June 2016.

Wholesale prices have already increased 5p in the last week.

Pete Williams, an RAC spokesperson, said: “The price of unleaded petrol will leapfrog diesel early next week, rising by up to 4p per litre as the impact of Storm Harvey and the shut-down of large refineries in the Gulf of Mexico drives up US demand for petrol imports.

“We expect this to be the case for some time to come, or at least until the US oil industry is able to get refineries back into operation and production in the Gulf Coast returns to normal.”

A quarter of the US’s refining capacity is currently offline, creating a shortfall of 4m barrels a day, Williams estimated. The Wall Street Journal reported as many as a third of refineries could be offline.

Crude oil production in the Gulf has dropped 13.5% and key ports were closed, however WSJ reported Port Houston will reopen its container terminal today and the Port of Galveston is also to resume normal opperations.

At least 33 people have been confirmed dead and about 100,000 homes are reported to have been affected. Flood waters in Houston have started to recede but heavy rain is still expected in Louisiana and Kentucky and flood warnings remain in place in south east Texas.

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