Petrol prices to reach record high
Petrol prices are set to reach an all-time high, piling pressure on Chancellor George Osborne to cut fuel taxes.
The average price of a litre of petrol on Wednesday this week was 137.34p, with the AA predicting that the record high of 137.43p, achieved last May, would be passed on Friday.
Diesel has already passed its all-time high and on Wednesday stood at an average of 144.60p a litre. Two years ago petrol cost "just" 112.74p a litre, with diesel at 113.79p.
The price of petrol has risen 1.25p a litre in the past week. Overall, UK drivers are spending £6.81 million extra a day on fuel compared to a year ago, and £24.2 million more a day than they were two years ago.
It is now costing drivers £3.45 more than it was a year ago to fill a typical 50-litre tank with petrol, while the cost has risen £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 £2.65 in the last week, £14.65 in the last year and £52.24 in the last two years.
Meanwhile, a survey by the Countryside Alliance showed that the price of diesel in rural filling stations was, on average, 4p more than in urban areas. The alliance said cars were 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.
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 new jobs and could be done at no loss to the Treasury.