Fuel prices to rise again as oil hits $100 a barrel

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Motorists are being warned that the record high fuel prices show no sign of dropping as the price of oil hit $100 a barrel yesterday.

The cost of a litre of petrol at the pumps is now 103.3p beating the previous record of 102.92p set on Boxing Day.

The increase means that filling a typical 50-litre tank now costs 7.36 more than a year ago. Diesel now costs 107.95p a litre just off the record of 108.00p set on 6 December last year. AA head of public affairs Paul Watters said: "The closure of superstores during the festive holidays, although many kept their petrol stations open, may account for the new record highs for petrol.

"We had hoped that petrol and diesel prices had hit a plateau that reflected the price of oil above 90 dollars a barrel. If the two new highs turn out to be blips, it will underline the importance of supermarkets in holding down the price of car fuels."

Other factors in the price rise include the weak dollar and concerns over oil supply. The largest share of the cost of a litre of petrol goes on fuel duty, at around 50 per cent.

Oil-producers' cartel Opec has blamed market speculators for the high price and said there was plenty of the fuel in the market to meet demand.

The rise in petrol prices comes after new figures from the UK's Road Users' Alliance show that the UK is the most car-dependent country in Europe, with 87 per cent of all journeys made by car.