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Higher fuel prices to open New Year
The New Year is set to open with continuing challenging times for motorists, the AA has warned, as fuel price hikes follow weeks of trials on the roads with ice and snow.
According to the association, scheduled tax increases - alongside increased global demand - is set to push up the cost of petrol by a further 3.5p per litre. This is due to the combined effect of VAT rising to 20%, and the fuel duty increase of 0.76p per litre.
The warning comes as prices already stand at an all-time high. According to petrolprices.com, the average price of unleaded petrol stood at 123.91p yesterday, with diesel at almost 128p per litre.
This eclipses previous records established this month, of 121.76p on 9 December, and of 122.14 - just a week later - when the AA released its monthly fuel price report in mid-December. Basing figures on the 9 December high, the association said that the increases added up to an extra £25 monthly bill for two-car families.
Speaking to guardian.co.uk, a spokesman for the AA said: "It is going to be an expensive year unless we get good news from the markets.
"Either the currency market has to make the pound better against the dollar, or the oil market has to subside."
Speaking as the AA released last week's report, president Edmund King said: "This is a bleak mid-winter for millions of drivers. Milking motorists through higher fuel prices is over, as many are running dry and biting back - not because they want to, but because they have no option.
"Two-thirds of drivers are cutting back on journeys, cutting back on other expenditure, or cutting back on both."
Earlier this week HM Revenue and Customs announced it had destroyed 27 illegal fuel plants which it estimated were able to produce some 140 million litres of 'laundered' diesel; fuel which has been filtered to remove the Government marker - identifying it as 'red' diesel only to be used in agriculture - and which contains acids and chemicals from the filtering process which can damage diesel cars.
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