Motorists in Northern Ireland have been thrown a lifeline in the current harsh economic conditions, an industry expert has said.
Drivers escaped next month’s fuel duty increase and will also benefit from a 1p cut in current duty.
Chancellor George Osborne also announced the introduction of a fuel stabiliser, funded by increasing the supplementary charge on North Sea oil, which should help reduce price swings at the pumps.
The move comes after the results of a UK poll in which 19 out of 20 people said that reducing fuel prices was a bigger issue for them than reducing income tax.
AA spokesman Luke Bosdet said the Chancellor went further than expected, which should be of particular benefit to local drivers.
“The reduction in fuel duty is particularly important in Northern Ireland where petrol and diesel cost more than other parts of the UK,” he said.
“Motorists will be watching retailers carefully over the next few days to make sure they are passing on the savings.”
MP Nigel Dodds, a well-known fair fuel price campaigner, said the 1p cut and fuel stabiliser were steps in the right direction.
He added: “But fuel is still enormously expensive here and much more needs to be done.”
Prices at the pumps have reached record highs on an almost daily basis of late in Northern Ireland, which is the most expensive region in the UK.
Earlier this week unleaded spiked at 142.9p a litre here, while diesel hit a staggering 149.9p in some places.
Brian Donaldson, Maxol Group general manager, said more needed to be done to redress the increases in the cost of product.
He said: “A much more radical approach must be adopted if the burden of fuel costs on Northern Ireland’s motorists, many of whom live in rural communities, is to be lessened and one of the greatest contributors to rising inflation is to be removed.”
Northern Ireland Road Haulage Association director Phil Flanders said it was good to see the Government acknowledging the problem.
“At long last they are doing something to reduce prices instead of increasing them,” he said.
“It gives us an opportunity to draw a bit of breath after the cost of doing business has been rising so relentlessly.”