Norwich fuel prices hit record peak

Emily DennisHard-pressed motorists in Norwich are feeling the pinch after fuel prices hit a record peak. Petrol prices have soared to an all time high of 120p a litre, eclipsing the previous peak of 119.Emily Dennis

Hard-pressed motorists in Norwich are feeling the pinch after fuel prices hit a record peak.

Petrol prices have soared to an all time high of 120p a litre, eclipsing the previous peak of 119.7p reached in July 2008, the RAC said.

And motorists and businesses have been warned there is no end in sight with a weak pound and increasing global demand for oil set to drive pump prices even higher.

RAC motoring strategist Adrian Tink described it as a 'dark day for motorists' and said that in some areas of the country drivers will be paying close to �6 a gallon (131.9p a litre).

Alice Barnard, from the Countryside Alliance, said that people living in Norfolk are likely to be hit hard.

'This latest price hike is going to come as a body blow to rural people and businesses,' she said.

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'Anyone living in rural Norfolk will tell you it is impossible to live without a car - whether on the school run, to the doctor, or around the farm, car ownership is a necessity not a luxury.

'The Countryside Alliance is increasingly concerned at the unfair disadvantage rural people are placed at when it comes to high fuel prices.

'The isolated, elderly and those on low incomes are especially vulnerable to the rocketing prices in a clear case of hitting hardest those who don't have a choice.

'We are less than a month away from having a new government and it is essential that they address this inequality as a priority.'

The new record comes just days after the government raised fuel duty by 1p a litre. A further 1p rise is due in the autumn, with a 0.76p increase planned for next January.

The RAC said the increase had been caused by a combination of factors.

Primarily the weak pound and the increase in the wholesale price of fuel had produced a steady rise since the beginning of the year. Also, tax rises since December 2008 have added around 10p to the cost of a litre of fuel.

Currently the average price of a litre of unleaded is 120p - of which 76p or 63pc is tax.

But in comparison the highest proportion of tax paid at the pumps came in April 1998 when the average price of a litre of unleaded was 65.6p - of which 54p or 82.1pc was tax.

The AA said petrol was now just over 10p a litre more than at the beginning of the year, adding more than �5 to the cost of filling a typical 50-litre tank.

AA public affairs head Paul Watters said: 'For many drivers, the record price underlines what they already know - the cost of petrol is becoming increasingly unsustainable.

'Comments from retailers confirm research from the AA showing that two-thirds of its members are cutting back to compensate for soaring petrol prices.

'With some retailers putting up their prices and then bringing them back down over the Easter weekend, the UK road fuel market is clearly at a watershed - and there will be casualties among retailers and motorists.'

He added: 'We can only hope that the May 6 election produces a result that strengthens the pound and puts downward pressure on pump prices. With potential consumer spending that would help fuel economic recovery being siphoned off at the pump, the stakes are high.'

Morrisons, Albion Way, Norwich

Unleaded 115.9p

Diesel 117.9p

Shell, Plumstead Road, Norwich

Unleaded 117.9p

Diesel 118.9p

BP, Dereham Road, Costessey,

Unleaded 118.9p

Diesel 119.9p

Murco, Dereham Road, Norwich

Unleaded 120.9p

Diesel 123.9p

Jet, Rose Lane, Norwich

Unleaded 117.9p

Diesel 117.9p

Tesco, Earlham Road, Norwich

Unleaded 116.9p

Diesel 116.9p

PACE, Hall Road, Norwich

Unleaded 120.9p

Diesel 121.9p