Cost of fuel hits record level

HIGH PETROL PRICES.'NEWBRIDGE ROUNDABOUT SERVICE STATION , ESSO PETROL STATION.''PRICES HERE TODAY WERE 117.9 FOR UNLEADED , AND 119.9 FOR DIESEL. '   '     PHOTO PHIL WILKINSON / TSPL

HIGH PETROL PRICES.'NEWBRIDGE ROUNDABOUT SERVICE STATION , ESSO PETROL STATION.''PRICES HERE TODAY WERE 117.9 FOR UNLEADED , AND 119.9 FOR DIESEL. ' ' PHOTO PHIL WILKINSON / TSPL

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Average petrol prices have gone past the 132p a litre mark, meaning that for the first time the cost has reached £6 a gallon, the AA has announced.

The average price of petrol at the pumps is now 132.12p a litre, while diesel has also hit a new record at 137.92p a litre. The cost of petrol has risen 6.93p a litre since the start of the year, and 1.68p a litre in the past week, said the AA.

A year ago, a litre of petrol on average cost 114.30p a litre and diesel was 115.31p.

For a family with two petrol cars, the monthly cost of fuel has risen from £242.70 in March 2010 to £280.54 now. In the same period, the price of oil has risen from around 85 US dollars a barrel to $113.

AA president Edmund King said: “£6 a gallon is not just another milestone along the road to higher fuel prices, it marks the point at which the wheels start to come off mobility in 21st century UK.

“Lower-income drivers, poorer rural residents, volunteer drivers, youngsters looking to their first jobs are some of the vulnerable groups struggling to stay on the road.”

He went on: “Over the past two years, the AA has warned that unbridled speculation in the oil markets and a constant drip of fuel tax rises would haemorrhage family finances to the point that it would damage the local and wider economy.

“Middle East troubles have brought matters to a head, but the writing’s been on the wall for months and only now are the Government and business analysts taking notice.

“The Government must act urgently to reduce the burden of high fuel duty and VAT.

In the meantime, drivers are going to have to manage as best as they can, by cutting out journeys, driving more economically and hoping that a stronger pound will cushion some of the blow.

“But these high prices are already leaving casualties among drivers, consumers and business.”

RAC motoring strategist Adrian Tink said: “Another day, another fuel price record. Now we see the average price of petrol hit the £6 a gallon barrier with no end in sight to the spiralling prices.

“It’s time for the Government to act by cancelling the planned fuel duty rise of inflation plus 1p in April. And something has to be done to control the price of fuel before driving becomes solely the preserve of the rich.”