The price of petrol experienced the biggest daily jump for 17-years and looks set to surpass the grim milestone of £100 for a tank tomorrow.
Motoring champions the RAC raised alarm bells saying the average price to fill up a tank of unleaded was now east £99.40, owing to an overnight rise of more than 2p per litre.
Meanwhile, drivers’ organisation the AA warned against “reckless speculation” about price rises, saying it “gives the fuel trade licence to pile on extra cost and the misery”.
Diesel, which already costs more than £100 to fill up a tank, also jumped by 1.5p, meaning the average cost of filling up a tank was £102.61.
RAC’s fuel spokesperson Simon Williams warned the petrol price increase was the “biggest daily jump in 17 years”, taking it to nearly 181p a litre (180.73p), while diesel hit “yet another record high at 186.57p.”
“A full tank of unleaded has now shot up to £99.40, moving us ever closer to the milestone £100 petrol fill-up – an unfortunate landmark we may reach as soon as tomorrow.”
He also said RAC Fuel Watch showed “Asda hiked its average petrol price nearly 5p a litre in a single day which is unheard of.”
“As it stands the average petrol price at the big four supermarkets.. is now 173.37p, while diesel is 182.38p. This makes a litre of unleaded more than 7p cheaper at a supermarket which is significantly above the norm of 4p below the UK average.
“For this reason we expect the other supermarkets to increase their prices today to close that gap as Asda is traditionally the cheapest retailer.”
In a statement to City A.M., Asda said: “The wholesale price of fuel has increased at an unprecedented rate, rising by over 9ppl in the last week.
“Motorists trust us to provide the best value at the pumps and we will do all we can to minimise the impact of rising wholesale prices on our customers.”
A day after the RAC called for government intervention to avert a national crisis over fuel, Williams said “it seems we are still some way from the peak.”
“While the average price of diesel is heading towards £2 a litre, the cost of wholesale petrol unexpectedly dropped around 5p a litre on Tuesday. If this price is maintained in the coming days it could stem the flow of daily record petrol prices.”
Leading motoring group the AA also aired concerns about price rises, but also warned people from unduly predicting further spikes.
Spokesperson Luke Bosdet warned “reckless speculation is leading to rip-off prices at the pump.”
“Yesterday’s more than 2p-a-litre leap in average UK petrol prices is a huge shock and fuels concern that speculation of a £2 litre just gives the fuel trade licence to pile on extra cost and the misery,” he added.
The AA also called on the government to “act fast to rein in these excesses” citing price transparency in Northern Ireland, “where petrol and diesel two days ago averaged 6p a litre cheaper than the UK average”.