RAC calls for radical intervention as petrol prices hit record high

Petrol prices soared by almost 6p a litre at UK forecourts over the jubilee bank holiday week to a fresh record, with drivers warned they could exceed 180p this week.

The RAC called for radical government intervention after figures from the data firm Experian Catalist showed the average cost of a litre of petrol reached a record 177.9p on Sunday, up from 172.1p on 27 May.

This means filling a typical 55-litre family car with petrol has become about £3 more expensive over the week, which was half-term for almost all schools in England and Wales. Diesel prices rose from 182.7p a litre to a record 185.0p a litre over the same period.

The RAC fuel spokesperson, Simon Williams, demanded more action from the government after the 5p-a-litre cut in fuel duty implemented in March.

“A litre of unleaded is now a frightening 177.88p, while diesel is 185p, an increase of 2p already this month. With oil above $120 a barrel and sterling still at $1.2, worse is still to come,” he said.

“Sadly, we expect to see the average price of petrol break through the 180p mark this week, with diesel moving further towards 190p. More radical government intervention is urgently needed, whether that’s in the form of a further reduction in fuel duty or a VAT cut. As it is, drivers surely won’t be able to cope unless something is done to help.

“This is fast becoming a national crisis for the country’s 32m car drivers as well as countless businesses.”

The AA fuel price spokesperson, Luke Bosdet, said: “Shock and awe is the only way to describe what has been happening at the pump during the half-term break. Little wonder that nearly half of drivers stayed at home for the jubilee extended bank holiday.

“The forces behind the surge have been oil jumping back above $120 a barrel for the first time since late March, combined with petrol commodity prices being boosted by summer motoring demand.”