The cost of filling up at the pumps has reached new record levels

The soaring cost of filling up at forecourts has been labelled another “body blow” to motorists, with further hardship predicted well into the start of the new year.

That’s despite Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirming in his Autumn Budget and Spending Review that fuel duty will remain frozen for the 2022-2023 period at 57.59 pence a litre.

Some commentators feel the Chancellor could have introduced a temporary cut in VAT on fuel to alleviate the pressure hard-hit motorists currently find themselves under.

The average price of a litre of diesel across the UK has risen by 30 pence in a year, figures from the RAC show. That means it is £16 more expensive to fill up the tank of an average-sized family car compared to 12 months ago when it was £65.

Petrol has also spiked in recent days; it has already passed the April 2012 record of 142.48 pence a litre and has continued to creep up, peaking at 144.35 pence a litre.

Simon Williams – RAC’s fuel spokesman – said: “While this isn’t unexpected as petrol has already hit a new record price, it’s still another body blow to drivers and businesses across the country who were already struggling to cope with rising prices.

“As well as hitting household budgets, this will have a knock-on effect on the price we pay for goods and services as diesel is very much the fuel of business and, as such, will contribute further to inflation.

“While the price of diesel on the forecourt has primarily shot up due the cost of a barrel of oil doubling in the last year from around $40 to more than $80, the price of biodiesel is now two-and-a-half times what it was 12 months ago.

“This means the biodiesel content in a litre has rocketed from 7 pence to 16 pence, while the pure diesel component has doubled from 20 pence to 40 pence.

“Unlike petrol where retailers have increased their margin on every litre sold compared to 2012, the profit being taken on diesel is the same as it was nine-and-a-half years ago, so we’re pleased to report this isn’t adversely contributing to the record price at the pumps,” he added.

As of Thursday (November 4), the Consumer Council’s fuel price checker revealed diesel to be cheapest in Limavady at 140.9 pence a litre and Ballyclare the highest (148.9p).

Limavady was once again the town with the most competitive petrol prices at 136.9 pence a litre, while Magherafelt topped the table at 145.2 pence a litre.

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