Misery as fuel prices soar

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PETROL duty and VAT rises have caused record fuel prices to soar again – spelling misery for both motorists and south Lincolnshire’s haulage firms.

On New Year’s Day, a Government fuel duty increase put another 0.76p a litre on both petrol and diesel.

And then on Tuesday, the rise in VAT from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent meant another price hike.

A further fuel duty rise is scheduled in April.

Glynis Kemp, director of Saracen’s Head chilled food transport specialists GMK Panic Link, said: “It keeps going up and up – it’s getting silly.

“We can’t put the prices up to the customer, it’s such a cut throat business. We have to ride the storm.

“We have four fuel cards and we just have to go with the cheapest at the time.

“We have to keep juggling.”

The cost of filling up continued to rise throughout 2010, topping the 2008 high, which saw a nationwide record of 119.7p.

Petrol prices had already overtaken the record set in May last year of 121.61p per litre in the run-up to Christmas and diesel prices were following track.

At time of going to press, Spalding’s Sainsbury’s forecourt was charging 125.9p per litre for petrol and 129.9p for diesel, while prices at the BP petrol station at Little London stood at 127.9p per litre for unleaded and 131.9p per litre for diesel.

Reports suggest that prices may be as high as 130.9p a litre for petrol elsewhere in the district.

The two latest hikes have seen the cost of petrol increase by at least four pence in a week.

The average price of unleaded petrol in the UK stands at 124.16p, according to Experian Catalist.

This time last year, petrol was at 107.74p a litre and diesel at 109.46p.

Diesel currently costs, on average, 128.35p a litre - some five pence below its record high of July 2008.

The AA estimated that in total, motorists are spending almost £10m more a day on petrol than this time a year ago.

Experts said even worse is to come at the pumps, amid speculation that crude oil prices, which have already jumped to around $90 a barrel, are set to rise even further and could reach the record highs set in July 2008 of $145 a barrel.

The Government has defended the decision to raise taxes, saying it is needed to try to reduce the country’s massive deficit.

The UK has the second highest diesel price in Europe and the tenth highest unleaded price, according to the AA.