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Petrol price reaches record high


Peter Woodman
Friday 02 March 2012 14:09 GMT
Petrol prices were set to reach an all-time high today
Petrol prices were set to reach an all-time high today (Getty Images)

Hard-pressed motorists are paying record high prices for petrol, it was announced today.

The average cost of a litre of petrol has risen to 137.44p, topping the previous all-time high of 137.43p a litre in May 2011, the AA said.

The rise puts more pressure on Chancellor George Osborne to reduce the tax burden on drivers in his Budget later this month.

Diesel is up to 144.67p a litre which is another new record.

AA president Edmund King said: "This new record for petrol and diesel just confirms what every family and business knows - fuel prices are hurting them badly and there seems no stopping them.

"We have asked the Chancellor to do what he can to protect the UK economy from fuel market volatility and record high prices which are stemming growth."

Mr King went on: "There is no more give in family and business budgets despite them cutting back on fuel purchase and other spending so they can get to work and go about their business.

"Britain cannot get back on its feet if fuel prices hold drivers and business to ransom every time market sentiment takes hold."

The price of petrol has risen by more than 1.25p a litre in the past week.

Overall, UK drivers are spending more than £6.8 million extra a day on fuel compared with a year ago, and more than £24 million more a day than they were two years ago.

It is now costing drivers around £3.45 more than it was a year ago to fill a typical 50-litre tank with petrol, while the cost has risen about £12.30 compared with two years ago.

The extra monthly cost to a family with two petrol cars, each consuming an average of 106.17 litres a month, has risen by more than £2.65 in the last week, about £14.65 in the last year and around £52.24 in the last two years.

Today's unwanted records follow a survey by the Countryside Alliance which showed that the price of diesel in rural filling stations is, on average, 4p more than in urban areas.

The alliance said cars are becoming an "unaffordable necessity" for many living in rural communities.

The costliest diesel - at 146.9p a litre - was in Purbeck in Dorset and Ryedale in North Yorkshire.

In contrast, diesel in Birmingham and in Dartford in south east London was "only" 139.7p a litre.

Overall, the alliance found that diesel in rural areas averaged 144p a litre, while in urban areas the average was 140p.

Countryside Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner said: "Not only do people living in rural areas have to drive further to go to work, further to access essential services like schools, doctors and the supermarket, but they have to pay a lot more for their diesel to do so.

"The cost of fuel is a major concern for everyone who lives in the countryside, and cars are fast becoming an unaffordable necessity for many rural families.

"We urge the Chancellor to help the rural economy get back on its feet and to cut fuel duty in his forthcoming Budget."

The alliance survey follows findings earlier this week that UK motorists pay more in fuel tax than any other drivers in Europe.

And a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has said that cutting fuel duty would create thousands of jobs and could be done at no loss to the Treasury.

Campaign group FairFuelUK met Treasury Minister Chloe Smith this week, armed with the initial findings of the CEBR report.

Ms Smith was expected to receive the full report today.


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