Why Does Coronavirus Mean Cheaper Petrol?

Mon 3rd Feb 2020

As the global crisis of the coronavirus continues, there is one tiny benefit to the virus spreading, with the price of fuel likely to drop as a result.

Experts are predicting that UK drivers could save as much five pence per litre following the coronavirus. China is one of the biggest oil users in the world, but the virus has severely restricted transport options in the country and it is highly unlikely that the country will be burning its way through its normal 9million barrels of oil a day.

The price of crude oil has already dropped below $60 a barrel and analysts are suggesting that the slump could continue as China continues to restrict travel. Ironically, many experts were suggesting that oil prices could rise due to the US-Iran conflict, but now the opposite is happening and supermarkets are being urged to reflect the price drops.

Simon Williams, fuel spokesman at RAC, said: “Some drivers are no doubt aware that fuel prices in the UK are affected by global events, but many will be shocked to hear the coronavirus outbreak in China should lead to the price of petrol and diesel falling dramatically.

“We urge the supermarkets, who are so influential in what drivers pay for fuel due to their massive market share, to pass on the wholesale savings they’re benefiting to motorists at the pumps, especially as they have actually increased forecourt petrol prices every day since 2 January.

“Drivers have been unfairly punished as a result of the very short-term oil price rise caused by tensions in the Middle East.

“It seems as though the big four supermarkets have been capitalising on this as the oil price has fallen steadily from a high of $69.82 on 6 January to $59.75 on 24 January.

“This is the first time oil has been under $60 a barrel since 31 October 2019.”