Petrol prices have hit an eight-year high, the RAC has said, due to a rise in the cost of wholesale fuel.
The pump price spike also comes amid the current fuel supply problems and reports of profiteering at some petrol stations.
This is adding up to a “pretty bleak picture for drivers”, the RAC said.
The government has put the army on standby to help ease fuel supply problems caused by a shortage of lorry drivers to make deliveries.
The RAC said that the average price of a litre of petrol across the UK increased from 135.87p on Friday to 136.59p on Sunday, the highest level since September 2013.
The motoring organisation warned that prices could rise further as retailers pass on the cost of rising wholesale prices.
“When it comes to pump prices, it’s a pretty bleak picture for drivers,” said RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams. With the cost of oil rising and now nearing a three-year high, wholesale prices are being forced up, which means retailers are paying more for the same amount of fuel than they were just a few days ago.” As a result, the price of a litre of unleaded gasoline has already risen by a penny since Friday.
“Regardless of the current supply issues, we may see higher forecourt prices in the coming days.
“We are also aware of a small number of retailers exploiting the current delivery situation by raising prices, so we would remind drivers to always compare the price they’re being asked to pay with the current UK averages, which are 136.69p for petrol and 138.58p for diesel.”
There is a nationwide shortage of truck drivers, which haulage companies have blamed on factors such as Covid and Brexit.
The lack of drivers has been affecting businesses from food firms to petrol stations.
There have been claims on social media that some petrol stations are taking advantage of the surge in demand to inflate prices.
Twitter user Trevor Lakin said that Shell was “marking prices up and profiteering” after charging £148.9 a litre at a petrol station.
According to a Shell spokesperson, about half of Shell’s UK network is owned by independent dealers who set their own prices.
“We can only control prices at the locations we own,” she explained, adding that “Shell is prohibited by law from telling dealer groups what to charge their customers for fuel.”
According to Howard Cox, founder of the campaign group FairFuelUK, price increases of 5p to 10p per litre have become “the norm in the last few days.”