Fuel Hike Offers Motorists Little Reason For Christmas Cheer

Motorists are being hit with the highest ever pre-Christmas fuel prices after diesel hit 5 a gallon for the first time in more than a year, a report in The Daily Express warns. Diesel has shot up nearly 12p a litre from its low last January to reach an average 110p a litre yesterday. At these prices a full tank for a typical family car would cost nearly £60. The escalating cost of fuel will hit drivers in the pocket over the festive season when many will be driving long distances to see family and friends. Hauliers have also warned that dearer fuel could push up shop prices, with retailers forced to pass on the higher costs to customers. AA spokesman Luke Bosdet warned: “Drivers have never seen these sort of prices at this time of year. The festive season is where they are trying to get as much as they can out of their pay packets but this time around they are seeing huge amounts being siphoned off into paying for fuel.” Unleaded petrol is also racing towards the £5 per gallon mark – equivalent to 110p a litre – in the wake of a 23p a litre surge since January. The average UK pump price yesterday stood at 108.7p a litre. The Freight Transport Association which represents 14,000 haulage companies said rising fuel costs were squeezing the profit margins of recession-hit firms and warned that all consumers would soon feel the knock-on effect of rising diesel prices. FTA spokeswoman Jo Tanner said: “Oil price rises combined with planned above-inflation fuel duty increases will inevitably mean we will have to pay more for the products on our shelves.” Pump prices tumbled before Christmas last year when crude oil costs fell, pushing the average for mid-December down to 89.5p a litre for unleaded and 101.9p for diesel, according to the AA. In contrast, the RAC yesterday warned that unleaded was on track to hit an average price of £5 a gallon within weeks. The price per gallon is significant as millions of motorists still use it to calculate their spending on fuel. Adrian Tink, motoring strategist for the RAC, said: “Motorists want answers as to why we are suddenly seeing these increases. The last thing we need in the run-up to Christmas is to find we are filling up and putting more and more money into the tank.” Drivers face more pain at the pumps in the coming months with the new year increase in VAT adding around 2.4p a litre to their fuel costs. The Government’s planned April fuel duty increase will slap at least another penny on the cost of both unleaded and diesel. Crude oil hovered just below 80 US dollars a barrel on the global markets yesterday – a leap from its low point of 32 dollars last December but still a far cry from the record high of 147 dollars seen in July 2008. The latest Which? magazine reveals the Treasury now gets about 72p from the cost of a litre of unleaded compared with the French government which gets a 68p cut. On diesel, 70p a litre goes to the Government compared with 55p a litre in Germany. Taken from: Truckandcv.com