The average price of petrol in Scotland has broken the £5-a-gallon mark for the first time as a result of the strike action at Grangemouth, according to a price-comparison expert.
Brendan McLoughlin, founder of the Petrolprices.com website, says Scotland has become the first part of the UK to reach the “concerning” milestone.
Yesterday, the second day of the strike, the average price of petrol in Scotland rose to 110.2p a litre for petrol and diesel stood at 120.5p a litre.
Before news of the Grangemouth strike broke, the average price for unleaded was 108.3p and 119.1p for diesel.
“The strike at Grangemouth has had a huge impact on petrol prices, not just in Scotland,” Mr McLoughlin said.
“Although the government might lose tax revenue as a result of the closure of BP’s Forties pipeline, thanks to the near two-thirds tax we pay on fuel the Treasury will get a hefty unbudgeted boost because of the unprecedented price rises.
“Both oil companies and the government are doing very nicely out of this while the rest of the country is left out of pocket, and in some cases out of fuel.”
UK prices reached new highs again yesterday, making it 15 straight days of record-breaking prices. The UK average for unleaded is currently at 109.8p and 119.8p for diesel.
The AA said UK motorists are paying an average of 109.8p a litre for unleaded, equivalent to £4.99 a gallon.
It came as the Grangemouth stoppage entered its second day and crude oil prices reached a new record of $119.93 a barrel, before falling back by just over a dollar.
The 48-hour refinery walkout has been described as an aggravating factor in crude’s latest rise.
Oil’s record run over recent weeks – crude prices are up nearly 20% during the past month alone – has helped push UK petrol and diesel prices to their new heights.
AA spokesman Luke Bosdet said: “There are stoppages at a couple of refineries across Europe, so what’s happened at Grangemouth has just aggravated the situation.”
The Grangemouth shutdown also comes amid supply outages in Nigeria that have helped support oil against a strengthening dollar.
Victor Shum, an energy analyst with Purvin & Gertz in Singapore, said: “We’ve got a confluence of a number of events that have really disrupted crude oil supply.
“That’s what’s driving oil to a new record.”
In London, Brent crude futures rose 40 cents to $116.74 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Oil traders are expected to watch closely the outcome of the US Federal Reserve meeting today and tomorrow for guidance on US interest rate movements – a major factor governing oil prices.
The average price of both unleaded and diesel in the UK has increased by nearly 10% since the beginning of the year.
The price of unleaded has increased 46% in the last 20 years.