UK petrol price could rise up to 4p after hurricane shuts down US refineries

Forecourt prices could rise by up to 4p per litre
Forecourt prices could rise by up to 4p per litre
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UK motorists are being warned to expect a hike in the cost of unleaded petrol due to Hurricane Harvey.

The RAC predicted that forecourt prices could rise by up to 4p per litre in the coming days because of the shutdown of large refineries on the Gulf Coast of the US.

This would take the average price above £1.21 per litre, making unleaded more expensive than diesel for the first time in over a year.

RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: "This will be the first time unleaded has been higher than diesel since June 2016.

"We expect this to be the case for some time to come, or at least until the US oil industry is able to get refineries back into operation and production in the Gulf Coast returns to normal to meet the United States' immense appetite for gasoline.

"One quarter of the refining capacity in the States remains offline, leaving a shortfall of over four million barrels a day.

"Americans are wedded to their petrol engines and while they have been endeavouring to become more self-sufficient through increased fracking, they are now having to buy more unleaded from overseas, which is reducing the availability of unleaded for the rest of the world."

Two major fuel pipelines in the US have been restricted or stopped because of flooding, and drivers in Dallas had to queue to fill up their vehicles as some petrol stations ran dry.

At least 39 people were killed in the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey.

In Texas more than 37,000 homes were heavily damaged and nearly 7,000 were destroyed amid major flooding.