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Ukraine tensions push petrol prices to new record high Petrol prices hit new high amid Ukraine tensions
(about 1 hour later)
Average UK petrol and diesel prices have hit new highs as the Ukraine crisis continues to affect oil prices, the RAC has said.Average UK petrol and diesel prices have hit new highs as the Ukraine crisis continues to affect oil prices, the RAC has said.
On Wednesday petrol prices hit 149.30p per litre and diesel hit 152.68p a litre, the motoring group said. On Wednesday, petrol prices rose slightly to 149.30p per litre amid warnings it could soon pass £1.50.
Oil prices jumped after Russia ordered troops into two Ukrainian regions this week, sparking invasion fears.Oil prices jumped after Russia ordered troops into two Ukrainian regions this week, sparking invasion fears.
Wholesale gas prices also continue to climb, threatening to further push up heating bills.Wholesale gas prices also continue to climb, threatening to further push up heating bills.
Russia is the second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and the world's top producer of natural gas.Russia is the second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and the world's top producer of natural gas.
While the UK gets little of its oil and gas from Russia directly, there are concerns sanctions could constrict supplies, driving up wholesale prices globally.While the UK gets little of its oil and gas from Russia directly, there are concerns sanctions could constrict supplies, driving up wholesale prices globally.
This would come as UK consumers are already paying a high price for energy and fuel due to a surge in demand following the easing of Covid restrictions. That would come as UK consumers are already paying a high price for energy and fuel, with demand surging following the easing of Covid restrictions.
Former National Grid boss Steve Holliday told the BBC's Today programme: "For the UK, it's a price issue, it's not a security supply issue.
"We already know that we've got consumers that are already experiencing huge jumps in their energy bills, so this is really very unwelcome."
Oil prices surge as Ukraine-Russia tensions climbOil prices surge as Ukraine-Russia tensions climb
Putin tells Russians security is non-negotiablePutin tells Russians security is non-negotiable
Former National Grid boss Steve Holliday told the BBC's Today programme: "For the UK, it's a price issue, it's not a security supply issue.
"We already know that we've got consumers that are already experiencing huge jumps in their energy bills, so this is really very unwelcome."
The price of Brent crude oil, an international benchmark, hit a seven-year high of more than $99 (£73) on Tuesday before falling back on Wednesday.The price of Brent crude oil, an international benchmark, hit a seven-year high of more than $99 (£73) on Tuesday before falling back on Wednesday.
However, fuel pump prices lag behind oil prices and the RAC has warned petrol could go higher than £1.50 a litre in the coming days. However, fuel pump prices lag behind oil prices and the RAC has warned petrol could go higher than £1.50 a litre in the coming days. Diesel has also been rising, hitting 152.68p a litre on Wednesday.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, UK wholesale gas prices rose further following Germany's decision to halt Nord Stream 2 - a new gas pipeline connecting the country with Russia. UK wholesale gas prices also jumped following Germany's decision on Tuesday to halt Nord Stream 2 - a new gas pipeline connecting the country with Russia.
That decision drew a swift response from Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's former president and now deputy chairman of its Security Council.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has issued an order to halt the process of certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Well. Welcome to the brave new world where Europeans are very soon going to pay €2.000 for 1.000 cubic meters of natural gas!
"Well, welcome to the brave new world where Europeans are very soon going to pay €2,000 for 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas!" he tweeted - suggesting prices were set to double.
UK prices for delivery in March rose by 13.5p to 200p per therm, though that is still much lower than the highs of December last year, when it peaked at over 400p per therm.UK prices for delivery in March rose by 13.5p to 200p per therm, though that is still much lower than the highs of December last year, when it peaked at over 400p per therm.
Western nations and Japan on Tuesday punished Russia with new sanctions for ordering troops into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine.Western nations and Japan on Tuesday punished Russia with new sanctions for ordering troops into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine.
The UK said it was ready to impose further sanctions in the event of a full invasion of Ukraine, targeting more Russian banks and individuals as well as companies in the energy, defence, technology and chemical sectors.
'Enormous' price rises
High energy prices in the UK have played a major part in pushing up the cost of living recently, while wages have lagged behind price rises.
Inflation currently stands at 5.5% - it's highest level in 30 years.
Speaking to the Treasury Select Committee of MPs on Wednesday, Imperial College London economics professor Jonathan Haskel said energy prices accounted for nearly half of the rise in inflation over the last year.
That is likely to rise to 70% in the first three months of 2022, the Bank of England believes.
Addressing the same committee, the Bank's deputy governor Ben Broadbent said: "If you look at the increase in energy bills this year, it is just about twice as big as any single year in the 1970s - it is enormous."