Motorists feel the pinch as fuel prices keep rising

Petrol prices have risen to within just 3p shy of the record set in April. Motoring organisations are warning that people living in rural areas and businesses are being hit particularly hard.

This weekend saw the average pump price of unleaded increase to 139.71p a litre, just a few pence short of the all-time high of 142.48p. The average cost of diesel reached 143.98p ,  in April it cost 147.93p.

The latest increases come despite the price of unleaded petrol falling to around 130p a litre earlier in the summer.

Since the beginning of July, the cost of a typical 50-litre tank has risen by £4.45. Now costs £6.29 more to fill the 80-litre tank of a commercial van. Families with two cars are really feeling the squeeze. Their monthly petrol costs have risen by £18.90.

The AA has spoken out firmly aligning itself on the side of the motorist. The OFT announced it is investigating rising prices at the pumps.

“Once again UK drivers find themselves being dragged over a barrel, as do businesses,” said AA president Edmund King.

“Last week, government statistics showed that traffic on minor country roads has fallen by five per cent, such is the impact of record fuel prices on rural communities.”

“The Office of Fair Trading has launched an investigation, but drivers are growing weary of words – they want action.

“The initiative to introduce a wholesale price track this year and make fuel prices more transparent would have been big step forward, but now it’s on hold.”

MPs are due to debate the issue of fuel prices on Thursday and a Westminster debate tomorrow will focus on the ‘fuel price-induced tragedy in rural Britain’. The AA is asking why traditional price drops at summer’s end are not happening this year.

“Traditionally, the price of petrol falls off at the end of summer,” said King. “Closing Coryton and refineries on both sides of the Atlantic, supposedly because of excess production capacity, seems less justified.”