Petrol prices hit new high

Steve Dinneen
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THE price of petrol raced to an all-time high yesterday as the improving global economy, rising fuel duty and the weakening pound conspired to sting drivers.

They hit an eye-watering 119.9p a litre – topping the previous record of 119.7 reached in July 2008 – in what has been called a “dark day for motorists”.

Prices have been creeping up since the start of 2010 and extra fuel tax of 1p brought in on 1 April helped push the cost over the previous record level. Petrol is now 10p a litre more expensive than it was in January, meaning the average bill for a two car family has shot up from £233.32 to £254.60.

The prices have also been rocked by the increasing wholesale prices, which topped $800 (£524m) per metric tonne.

The new high is an average figure and motorists in some areas will be even more badly affected, with prices of up to 131.9p reported.

A further 1p rise is scheduled for the autumn and a 0.76p increase will come into force next January.

A spokesman for breakdown service the AA told City A.M.: “We have got to the point where we can just hope that the 6 May election will have a positive effect on the economy and lead to a strengthening of the pound. This would exert some welcome downward pressure on pump prices.

“The new record high confirms what motorists already knew – that the cost of petrol is becoming increasingly unsustainable.”

An RAC spokesman said the issue has now become an election hot-potato, with the UK’s 32m motorists keen to hear how parties will curb the rising prices. Prices are predicted to continue to rise in the short term, hitting 121p this year. The average diesel price hit 120.6p yesterday.