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Northern Ireland still most expensive region to fill up car

By Victoria O'Hara

Motorists in Northern Ireland are paying the highest prices at the petrol pumps in the UK for the sixth month in a row, a new report has revealed.

The figures from the AA mid monthly fuel price report show car owners across the province are again paying above the national average for every litre of petrol.

It now costs on average 104.9p — 1.1p more than last month.

The consistent rise in prices has led to calls by the AA for the Government to abandon the new tax hike in fuel duty set to be introduced in September.

The report also comes as the RAC warned that petrol could rocket to 120p a litre by the end of the year.

Average UK petrol prices rose almost 1.5p between mid-July and mid-August, from 102.95 to 104.43p per litre.

This is despite falling to 102.28p at the end of July, before the AA says yet another speculative surge in oil prices sent wholesale tarrifs shooting up.

In July, Asda introduced a uniform price in Northern Ireland of 99.9p for petrol and diesel at all seven local forecourts. It is now 1.01p for both.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s operate a regional policy where fuel prices depend on the geographical location of the forecourt.

Northern Ireland tied with London motorists for the highest price per litre of petrol costing 104.9p.

The cheapest was 103.5p in Yorkshire and Humberside.

Oil prices hit an all-time high of almost $150 per barrel in July 2008 before plunging to below $40 in December and then bouncing sharply back up.

Wholesale petrol prices have started to dip again, but drivers continue to be hit by rising prices from the previous surge.

This comes as the 2.3p fuel duty and a VAT increase will be imposed by the Government on September 1.

Paul Watters, head of AA public affairs, said: “At the start of next month, a new fuel duty increase will add another £1 to the cost of filling a typical petrol or diesel tank.

“This is despite half a million less tonnes of fuel being sold on UK forecourts in the first quarter of this year and AA/Populus figures showing drivers cutting back across the board this summer.

“Common sense dictates that the Government should abandon this new tax hike paid for by drivers as it derives no extra revenue — so why pile on extra pain now?”

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