Petrol prices set to hit all-time high

PETROL prices are set to soar to an all time high this year, with Suffolk likely to be one of the worst hit areas, analysts have warned.

Lizzie Parry

PETROL prices are set to soar to an all time high this year, with Suffolk likely to be one of the worst hit areas, analysts have warned.

As a rural county, Suffolk is used to bearing the brunt of high petrol prices but the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) have today warned “brace yourselves for higher fuel costs ahead”.

Nationally the average price for a litre of unleaded petrol is 111.8p and 113.7p for diesel.

But the highest price recorded in Suffolk for unleaded topped 116.9p according to the comparison website And for diesel the figure was 119.9p.

However, analysts are predicting prices could rocket to between 120 and 125ppl by the second half of the year.

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According to the AA, East Anglia, along with London takes the top spot for the most expensive prices at the pump.

The return to 17.5% VAT on January 1 lifted petrol prices by an average of 2.5ppl and since then a surge in the value of oil and increased wholesale fuel costs have lifted prices by around 2p a litre in 10 days.

On April 1 the Government are set to prompt more misery for motorists by increasing fuel duty in line with inflation and add an extra 1ppl rise.

But with the country still in financial turmoil, paying for the recession the onslaught will not end there, any new Government could face increasing VAT to 20% as well as taxation rises across the board after the election.

The huge price hike has concerned one Suffolk charity, championing the cause of rural communities.

Wil Gibson, chief executive of Suffolk Acre, said the price rises would put more pressure on rural families especially those with low incomes.

He said: “Any increases in petrol prices are unwelcome for people living in rural areas. People in rural communities are more reliant on their cars, particularly those on low incomes.

“People are already facing higher household bills because of the inclement weather.”

He warned the rises could be never ending as the Government levies this indirect tax on people to help boost their spending power.

Mr Gibson also warned the rises would continue to put increasing pressure on the few remaining independent petrol stations serving rural communities.

He added: “If prices keep rising people will start to drive further to fill up their cars and smaller petrol stations will lose custom. It is very bad news for these independent stations who provide a vital rural service.”

Brian Madderson, chairman of PRA, said 2009 was a tough year for drivers but 2010 is set to be tougher.

He said: “The predicted 10ppl rise does not take into consideration any increase in the world oil price which is also a possibility and could add another 3 to 5ppl to forecourt inflation.

“We might well see pump prices in the second half of 2010 in the range 120 to 125ppl, setting record highs.

“It is going to be a tough year for both consumers and independent petrol retailers in 2010 and both are really going to feel the squeeze.

“We will be actively lobbying Government to minimise the tax increases in order to protect the vulnerable rural filling stations and maintain the momentum of any economic recovery. Brace yourselves for higher fuel costs ahead.”