Petrol prices reach a new high
The price of petrol at the pumps has risen to a new high, the AA has revealed.
After a brief halt following weeks of increases, the average cost of petrol has gone up to 142.48p a litre. Diesel, at 147.88p a litre on average, is just short of the record price which was set last week.
The AA said petrol had risen 10.23p a litre and diesel 7.32p a litre since pump prices started their climb at the start of the year, adding £21.72 to the monthly petrol cost of a two-car family.
In the past month alone, petrol has gone up 3.98p a litre and diesel 2.43p. A year ago, petrol cost 135.29p a litre and diesel 141.60p. The most expensive petrol is to be found in Northern Ireland, at 143.9p a litre on average, while the cheapest is in Scotland (142.2p).
The dearest diesel is in Northern Ireland (148.2p a litre) while the least expensive is in Yorkshire and Humberside (147.3p).
AA president Edmund King said: "Panic-buying in March forced some cash-strapped families to spend far more on fuel than their budgets could bear. Filling up a 50-litre tank costs more than some families spend on food each week. This panic-buying masked a more persistent threat further up the fuel chain."
Mr King added: "With both the International Energy Agency and Opec (the oil-producing countries) saying last week that the global oil market is 'well-supplied', the pressure to maintain petrol wholesale prices at or just below record levels and kill even more consumer demand is absurd and incomprehensible.
"To help the 35 million UK drivers, the Government should address the current destructive tendencies in the oil and road fuel markets. Greater transparency would be a good start."
Meanwhile, it emerged that fresh talks aimed at averting strikes by fuel tanker drivers will be held next week, raising hopes that industrial action can be averted.
The conciliation service Acas announced that leaders of the Unite union and officials from six distribution companies will meet on Monday. Unite has also been given an extension to next Tuesday before it has to make a decision about calling industrial action over health and safety issues, training and pensions.