Petrol Prices Heading For Record High Of £5.40 Per Gallon

(Guardian) – MOTORISTS should brace for record high petrol prices this year as the cost of unleaded fuel surges to £1.20 a litre or more, according to research by the AA.

In a stark warning to consumers, the organisation says those struggling on tight budgets would be hard hit by the predicted price hike and has urged the chancellor, Alistair Darling, to postpone the introduction of a planned 3p hike in petrol duty, due on 1 April.

The average petrol price is currently just over £1.15 a litre, but the AA says pump prices could nudge £1.20 by next month – equivalent to over £5.40 a gallon – when the petrol levy is due to start.

Figures show the average petrol bill for a two-car family has already soared by £52 a month in the past year, to £245.

The AA’s president, Edmund King, said: “The UK is barely out of recession, yet petrol threatens to rise to record prices seen during the boom of 2008, shortly before the collapse into recession.

“If families, drivers on fixed incomes and those on low pay were unable to cope with prices then, they are even less likely now.” King attributed the increase to rises in the price of wholesale petrol since January.

Surging petrol prices will also hit supermarkets which have recently absorbed some of the cost of pump increases.

The RAC has joined calls for the government to hold back new fuel duty charges, saying petrol prices were well below the £1 a litre mark when the levy was announced in last year’s budget.

Lindsay Hoyle, Labour MP on the Commons business select committee, called the increase a “complete disgrace”.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he said: “Yes, crude oil has gone up this year, but nothing like the rise in petrol prices. Motorists are being legally mugged at the forecourt by petrol companies.”