Just two days after the Chancellor refused to cancel a fuel duty rise, and five months before it kicks in, petrol prices have reached a record high. The average price of petrol has for the first time exceeded £1.40 per litre – it now stands at 140.20p per litre – while diesel is even higher at a record 146.72p per litre.
Motoring organisations were appalled at the soaring cost of driving and fear that by the end of summer the average cost will have risen further to 150p per litre, an increase of more than 13 per cent since the start of the year.
In the past three weeks alone petrol prices have, according to the AA which released the figures, risen 2.75 p per litre. At the start of the year the average cost of petrol stood at 132.25p per litre.
The consequences of the price hikes include more difficulty balancing budgets for households, which are are already under pressure, and the likely knock-on effect of increases for a range of other products as suppliers attempt to cover higher transport costs. On Wednesday George Osborne resisted pressure to drop or postpone August's planned fuel duty rise of 3p.
David Bizley, the RAC's technical director, said: "A figure of £1.40 a litre is a massive price for people to have to pay and there is no end in sight to rising prices. The way things are going the planned duty rise will see average petrol prices hit the £1.50-a-litre mark, which will force more and more people who need their cars off the road."