According to the RAC, it is now £15 more expensive to fill up an average family car than it was at this time last year.
The price of unleaded has rocketed by 28p a litre from 114.5p in October 2020.
“This is truly a dark day for drivers, and one which we hoped we wouldn’t see again after the high prices of April 2012,” said RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams.
“This will hurt many household budgets and no doubt have knock-on implications for the wider economy.
“The big question now is: where will it stop and what price will petrol hit? If oil gets to $100 a barrel, we could very easily see the average price climb to 150p a litre.”
He added: “Even though many people aren’t driving quite as much as they have in the past due to the pandemic, drivers tell us they are more reliant on their cars now than they have been in years, and many simply don’t have a choice but to drive.
“There’s a risk those on lower incomes who have to drive to work will seriously struggle to find the extra money for the petrol they so badly need.
“We urge the government to help ease the burden at the pumps by temporarily reducing VAT, and for the biggest retailers to bring the amount they make on every litre of petrol back down to the level it was prior to the pandemic.”
The cost of petrol could rise further as oil prices worldwide also continue to increase.
The AA said the price rises could mean those less well off are forced to choose between heating their homes or filling up their cars.
The organisation also said now is a good time, for those who have the means, to switch to an electric vehicle.
AA spokesman Luke Bosdet said: “Whether it’s down to oil producers, market speculators, Treasury taxes or struggling retailers trying to balance their margins, record pump prices must be saying to drivers with the means that it is time to make the switch to electric.
“As for poorer motorists, many of them now facing daily charges to drive in cities, there is no escape. It’s a return to cutting back on other consumer spending, perhaps even heating or food, to keep the car that gets them to work on the road.”
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