Fuel prices keep on rising

AVERAGE petrol prices in Suffolk have broken the £1 barrier for the first time, The Evening Star can reveal today.Amazingly at one petrol station the cost of unleaded has increased by a staggering 7.

AVERAGE petrol prices in Suffolk have broken the £1 barrier for the first time, The Evening Star can reveal today.

Amazingly at one petrol station the cost of unleaded has increased by a staggering 7.5 per cent in just three months - an annual rate of 30pc which works out a massive 14 times the rate of inflation.

Fuel prices across the UK have been spiralling this year amid rising crude oil costs and increases in fuel duty.

Despite this the majority of forecourts in Suffolk have been able to offer cheaper prices than other parts of the country meaning that until recently the average cost was yet to break the landmark £1 barrier.

The £1 barrier has been breached before in Suffolk - in September 2005 - but on that occasion it was the exception not the norm.

During another perceived high-point in prices - at the time of the September 2000 fuel protests - the price for a litre of unleaded stood at around the 80p mark.

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The latest fuel-price high has seen petrol boards outside filling stations in Suffolk ring up figures ranging from 99.9p to 104.9p.

After checking the prices of 15 petrol stations around the county the Star found that the average price is around £1.02 for a litre of unleaded.

Meanwhile diesel rings up on the average till at around £1.06 per litre.

A stark illustration of the recent surge in cost came when the Sainsburys petrol station in Warren Heath closed for refurbishment work back in September.

When the pumps went off-line the price of 92.9p per litre was still on display.

Now the price stands at 99.9 pence per litre - a huge rise of 7p (or 7.5 pc) in just three months.

A spokeswoman for the AA said recent rises can be put down to a variety of factors.

She said: “Taxation increased in October and there have been supply problems.

“The Americans keep a huge reserve and when that falls below a certain level they need to buy a lot of fuel which makes it difficult for the rest of us to buy it.

“There have also been hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and the fire at the Coryton refinery in Essex.

“All these things combined together to make prices increase so much.”

She added that the fact that prices in Ipswich and Suffolk have remained slightly less than other parts of the country could be the result of something known in the industry as “the Asda effect”.

“Asda are quite keen to keep prices down so if you have an Asda store nearby, combined with other powerful supermarkets, prices tend to stay a little bit cheaper.”

The spokeswoman added that there is hope on the horizon for motorists with petrol prices expected to drop slightly in the New Year.

However she warned that any decrease is likely to be small and expensive petrol prices are here to stay.

“There is so much more demand for petrol now because China and India have massively increased their use,” she said.

“It is not going to go very cheap again.”

Is the cost of petrol getting to much or is it a price worth paying? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

One filling station in upmarket Chelsea is charging a whopping 129.9p a litre.

In September 2005, the devastating hurricane Katrina in the Middle East combined with instability in the Middle East to prompt several petrol stations in Suffolk to raise their prices above the £1 mark.

However the majority of forecourts charged between 91.9p and 97.9p meaning the average cost to the motorist remained under the £1 mark.

Back in 2000 fuel protests were triggered when major oil companies announced an increase in the price of a litre of unleaded petrol to 81p.

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