Diesel rises at fastest rate in decade

NEW figures today show the price of diesel is rising at its fastest rate in a decade.

NEW figures today show the price of diesel is rising at its fastest rate in a decade.

Last week The Evening Star revealed prices at some Suffolk filling stations had gone up 22p per gallon in a week - and motorists are bracing themselves for the Star's latest survey, which will be published on Friday.

Using the survey motorists could save up to 45p per gallon on diesel and 27p on petrol, with big differences in prices at the pumps.

Today the AA said UK diesel prices for May had suffered their highest month-on-month increase this century, with hikes in the cost of petrol the second highest since 2000.

Between mid-April and mid-May, the price of diesel has shot up 6.76p per litre, from 117.41p to 124.17p.

This has added £3.38 to the cost of filling a typical 50-litre fuel tank. The previous record rise, of 5.6 pence per litre, was between October and November last year.

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In Suffolk, East of England Co-op garages are charging 128.9p per litre for diesel.

The average price of petrol has leapt 4.49p per litre in the past month, from 108.06 to 112.55p per litre, adding £2.25 to the cost of a refill.

Edmund King, the AA's president, said: “The price rises in recent days were of a magnitude only exceeded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when the price of petrol rose almost 3.5 pence in a week. With many UK families embarking on their holidays next week, the timing could hardly be worse.

“What alarms us most is the stream of comments coming from the industry and producers saying that oil is over-priced - the finger of blame being pointed at market speculators.

“Oil prices have doubled since last year and this is not just due to strong demand from China and other nations.

“While huge profits are made in the financial centres, an increasing number of car-owners are becoming desperate and businesses suffer from the hit on consumer spending.”

A significant gap has opened up between what supermarkets charge for fuel and the price at non-supermarket outlets with supermarkets 2.5p cheaper for petrol and more than four pence less expensive for diesel.

London and the south-east remains the most expensive regions to buy petrol, followed by East Anglia.

The Petrol Retailers' Association said petrol has increased so much in the past month because of an increase in demand as the summer months approach.

Are you driving less because of the petrol price hike? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk