Martin Lewis provides advice on cutting fuel costs
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The fuel crisis was one of several events of 2021 that shackled British finances, leaving people struggling for cash as the pandemic wore on. Over the year, dozens of energy companies closed their doors, the vast majority in the autumn, switching millions of Britons to new plans. The changing energy landscape will have left them questioning what is going on, and Express.co.uk is here with answers.
Why are fuel bills rising in the UK?
The fuel bill crisis is neither a UK-centric issue, nor a straightforward one.
A chaotic mess of issues across Europe has left gas supplies dwindling since 2020.
That year, the continent wrestled with a chilly winter that left people with their hands on the thermostat, demanding more fuel than usual.
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The pressure they mounted on supplies left the continent short in 2021, compounded by additional demand for air conditioners in the summer.
At the same time, the comparatively calm season meant officials couldn’t top up their national grids with power from alternative sources, such as wind turbines.
In late 2021, Russia further added to European strife when it cut supplies during a similar domestic struggle.
Russia is the continent’s largest single supplier, and experienced a supply surge of its own that forced it to redirect fuel inwards.
Where does crude oil come from?
Like most fuel exporting countries, Russia relies on bountiful storage of crude oil.
The substance, primarily known as petroleum, is the product of millions of years of organic decomposition.
When people switch on a light in their home, the electricity comes from a grid powered by the Earth’s early inhabitants.
These included algae and other plants that spent their lives drifting in the ocean.
When they died, they sank to the seafloor and mingled with sediment and other materials.
Over millions of years, the sea they once called home was pushed underground by new land, where these remains were pressure-cooked together.
The process created a vast underground reservoir under the present-day landscape, from which oil companies now routinely pull.
They use colossal machines to extract fuels before processing and selling them to countries and consumers.
At present, companies are struggling to meet the demand.
As a result, there is less oil to go around, and suppliers are raising prices as it becomes more scarce.
Experts believe the rising prices could eventually lead more nations to explore alternative means of generating energy.
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