Motoring|

AA Issues Fuel Price Report

The Automobile Association (AA) LogoThe AA has issued its latest Fuel Price Report, which reveals what motorists already know – petrol and diesel prices are higher than last year and keep rising. The organisation says the increase in fuel prices is due to unrest in the Middle East and a weak pound against the dollar.

Oil is sitting around $125 per barrel, and unleaded petrol costs an average 138.5p per litre – up 3.5p from 135p. Petrol has now surpassed the previous 137.43p per litre record, which was set just last year. Diesel has risen 2.7p per litre from 142.8p to 145.5p – also passing its 143.04p record from last year. The difference between the price of each type of fuel has fallen from 7.8p to 7p.

The AA has found that the highest price for unleaded is 139.2p per litre in Northern Ireland, while the lowest price is 137.9p per litre in Humberside and Yorkshire. The highest diesel price is 146p per litre in the South-East, while the lowest price is 144.7p per litre in (again) Humberside and Yorkshire. Additionally, unleaded prices at supermarkets have risen 2.8p to 136.1p per litre, increasing the difference between supermarket and petrol station prices to 2.4p per litre. In Europe, the UK has the eighth highest price of petrol and the second highest price of diesel.

The AA says petrol prices are 1p per litre higher than the record last year, while diesel is almost 2.5p per litre higher. The organisation believes these skyrocketing costs, combined with a planned rise in fuel duty, will dry up any relief drivers may have been wishing for with warmer weather. More daylight and warmer weather reduces the winter workload of a car and improves fuel efficiency by two miles per gallon at the least. The AA explains that this means a petrol car that has a 55-litre fuel tank and gets 6.8 miles per litre will be able to travel an extra 24 miles per fill-up during warmer weather. This is the same as saving £4.85 per tank or 3.5 litres of petrol.

However, the savings will appear to melt away due to rising petrol and diesel prices. On top of the increases, Chancellor George Osborne confirmed last week that the government will push ahead with a 3.02p per litre hike to fuel duty. With a 62p VAT added, this will mean fuel prices rise another 3.62p per litre from August 1. Who knows how high fuel costs will have jumped by that time. The AA says rural motorists are expected to suffer the most, as they typically drive 5,618 miles a year compared to the average 3,415 miles, according to the Department for Transport. Annual fuel bills have already risen £51.64 for rural drivers, and the upcoming fuel duty plus VAT increase will add another £29.91 to that. This will amount to an £81.55 annual fuel bill for rural motorists compared to the average £49.57.

AA president Edmund King says that fuel duty isn’t equitable and has a stronger impact on some people due to where they live and their mobility needs. Although rich car owners pay more for their indulgence due to higher fuel consumption and vehicle excise duty, poorer motorists suffer disproportionately. Those living in rural areas, who have had to move away from the city to find affordable housing or whose family budgets are suffering from daily travel costs, are facing a bigger, unfair burden.

Instead of giving the fuel duty rise the go ahead, King added, it would be better if the Treasury froze fuel duty and worked on a fuel price stabiliser that is suitable for current record fuel costs. If not, the government will see more people claiming benefits due to rising travel prices discouraging work and will get less tax due to motoring-dependent businesses going bankrupt and having to lay workers off.

 

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