Oil prices in the UK have been rising since December 2021, but, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, price rates have started to escalate even more sharply. Russia is the 3rd largest producer and 2nd largest exporters of oil in the world.
Due to the ongoing conflict and subsequent sanctions, there has been a decline in global supply of oil. This decline is impacting the UK population as 8% of total UK demand in oil is imported from Russia.
Following this, the UK Government recently declared that they would stop Russian oil imports by 2023. This would serve as a sanction against Putin, and also diversify the provenance of UK’s imports.
For students, the increase in oil prices has a two-fold impact, especially those who rely on their cars to travel home or to placements.
Chris is a third year Chemical Engineering student living in Salford driving to their placement in Warrington, his usual working week includes three days in the office and 2 days working from home. However, due to the vast increase in fuel prices, he said “my fuel costs are £30 more then usual since the rise in costs which means I can now only afford to go into the office one day a week instead of three. I have also cut down on when I do my food shops and try to get everything in one go – also the fuel is normally cheaper at the supermarkets.”
Izzy, a second year English Literature and American Studies-student has her car at university. She remembers that post lockdown, petrol prices were significantly lower than now. The prices would usually be around “115 a litre”, whereas they are currently reaching “160 a litre”. This considerable rise can be witnessed through filling up her car, as it “used to cost around £25”, and is now £55.
Izzy is planning on driving home for Easter, which is a journey longer than four hours. For her, as she lives in the countryside, the increase in petrol prices will also impact her once home. She said that she lives 30 minutes away from the first bus stop. Hence, she would need her car every day; to go shopping, go to work etc.
A second year Neuroscience-student has been going through the same problems with her car. She has also noticed changes due to the increase of petrol prices. She too is planning on driving home for the Easter break, which is a long journey, and therefore would need a lot of petrol. She explained that it will be “substantially more expensive than usual”.
This second year student is also going through the second problem regarding increase in oil prices. For those who are renting a university house, many landlords have decided to increase household bills as a result of rising prices (even when they were supposed to be included).
The student said that her next year’s landlord has recently decided to increase her future house bills “by £7,50 per person per week to accommodate the rising gas prices”. As the bills had been agreed on and fixed in advanced, it represents for her a “pretty big difference”.
Many students already feel impacted by this decrease in the imports of oil, and explained being concerned if it was to remain like so in the next few weeks or months. Also, if oil prices continue to increase, numerous students will potentially start facing difficulties to travel, notably when planning on going home and visiting family, but also to rent and having a decent use of electricity and water in their university houses.
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