Petrol Prices to Rise Again: 6 Crude Facts

Civil unrest in Egypt and Syria is being blamed for an imminent hike in petrol prices, with analysts predicting that the cost of a litre of fuel will increase by around 5p in the next few weeks. The average cost of petrol is currently £1.37 per litre, so an extra 5p will see petrol prices equal the record high of £1.42, which was last registered in April 2013.

Petrol prices are linked to the cost of a barrel of Brent crude oil, which has increased by 10% since June, now at $110 per barrel. It might not be a number we’re all very familiar with, but ordinary motorists and car insurance policyholders will be eagerly looking out for a drop in the price of crude oil and hoping it translates to an easing of pressure on the wallet.

So, what else should we know about crude oil?

1. Around 85 million barrels of oil are produced every day, with Russia, Saudi Arabia and the USA being the highest producers of oil – around 10 million barrels each, per day.
2. The USA are also the biggest importer of oil – a further 10 million barrels each day to cover their needs.
3. The UK produces around 1 million barrels each day, although as the UK is home to multinational oil companies like BP and Shell, we are central to the global fuel production and refining process.
4. A barrel of oil is equivalent to about 160 litres. At the end of 2011, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) calculated that there were 1,481,526,000,000 barrels of oil left in reserves around the world, enough to last for another 109 years.
5. The fuel protests in 2000 - which led to three quarters of petrol stations running dry, the NHS cancelling non-urgent operations, school closures, panic buying, queues and police escorted fuel deliveries - was triggered when petrol prices reached 80p per litre and the cost of a barrel of oil went beyond $30.
6. According to the Association of British Drivers, when the price of petrol is 139.9p, as much as 58% of the cost to you is made up of taxes: the cost of fuel at that price is less than 58p per litre.