AA: Drivers need fuel price help
Drivers braced for an up to 5p-a-litre increase in fuel duty on April 1 have already suffered a similar surge in petrol and diesel prices over the past month, according to figures from the AA.
Average UK petrol prices have risen from 128.81p a litre in mid-February to a new record of 132.88p in mid-March.
Average diesel pump prices have gone up 4.97p a litre in the same period, from 134.01p to an all-time high of 138.98p, said the AA which urged the Chancellor to use the Budget to scrap the planned April fuel duty rise.
For petrol car owners, the 4.07p average increase in pump prices has added more than £2 to the cost of tank of petrol and a family with two petrol cars has seen the monthly petrol bill go up £8.64 over the past month.
Northern Ireland remains the most expensive region for petrol, averaging 133.8p a litre. The cheapest region for petrol is Yorkshire and Humberside, at 131.9p a litre.
Northern Ireland is also most expensive for diesel, averaging 139.7p a litre while Yorkshire and Humberside is the cheapest, at 138.2p.
AA president Edmund King said: "Drivers are already contributing 5p a litre more in VAT from petrol and diesel so far this year. If this continues, the Treasury will gain an extra £1.25 billion over the year and maybe more if stock markets push oil prices higher.
"Surely, drivers are already paying their share towards filling the budget deficit, with some breaking under the strain on their own finances."
He continued: "Turmoil in the Middle East, with its impact on oil and pump price volatility, is already adding to financial uncertainty for poorer drivers. The AA asks the Government to provide some respite by cancelling the fuel duty increase on April 1.
"If not, tales of the rural poor being marooned in their villages and people cutting back on their food to keep the car on the road so that they can go to work will become more common - to the shame of a developed country."