Diesel tops £6 a gallon mark

DIESEL in Suffolk is today now more than £6 a gallon at some filling stations.

DIESEL in Suffolk is today now more than £6 a gallon at some filling stations.

While The Evening Star's exclusive weekly survey showed fuel prices remained stable over the past seven days, motorists were still having to shell out for record prices at the pumps.

Motoring organisations said people were thinking twice about making journeys in their car, but for some travel was a necessity and were having to cut back on other household expenditure just to buy petrol and diesel.

Truckers are next week taking part in a major protest when a convoy of lorries will drive from the M40 to the doors of the Houses of Parliament.

AA president Edmund King said: “The £6 gallon would have been an unrealistic nightmare to motorists only one year ago yet today it is a reality.

“Two thirds of motorists have already cut back on their journeys and many are slowing down to conserve fuel.

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“However, many car-dependent motorists such as the disabled, shift workers and rural dwellers have to cut back on household expenditure as the car is a necessity.

“More than half of motorists blame the government for the high cost of fuel even though global pressures and market speculation have raised costs.

“The chancellor does need to look again at levels of duty on fuel as it is taxed as a luxury item at rates higher than champagne rather than as a necessity.”

Average diesel prices are now 132.03 pence per litre (£6-gallon) for diesel and 118.65 pence per litre (£5.34-gallon) for petrol.

Compared to this time last year, diesel (97.27p) is now 34.76p per litre more expensive and petrol (96.93p) costs 21.72p more.

The AA says this means a two-car family is now paying £46.55 more a month for fuel, while the extra monthly cost of refuelling the average diesel car is £29.61.

Next Wednesday members of the Road Haulage Association, the lobby group TransAction 2007 and the Transport Association will take their campaign over soaring fuel prices and the highest levels of fuel duty in Europe to Westminster.

“This industry is so efficient that it often goes unnoticed but July 2 will be the day when it will make its voice well and truly heard,” said TransAction spokesman Peter Carroll.

“Britain's hauliers are going through an unprecedented financial crisis thanks to the huge increase in fuel prices and customers for haulage are finding it increasingly difficult to meet ever-rising fuel surcharges. Government can and must help,” said RHA chief executive Roger King.

Should the government cut fuel tax? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk