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FUEL'S GOLD; Unleaded reaches new high of pounds 1.34 per litre - that's pounds 6.13 per gallon - and yet another increase looms in the Budget ... 22p rise in petrol in just two years.

Byline: NEIL ATKINSON

HARD-pressed Huddersfield drivers are paying record high prices for petrol.

Across the town the price for unleaded stood last night around the 134.9p per litre mark - SEVEN PENCE more than a year ago and a staggering 22p more than in 2010.

That means it's costing local drivers pounds 6.13 a gallon to fill up.

And with the threat of even more price rises looming in the Budget, drivers are being forced to cut back.

The average cost of a litre of petrol across the country has risen to 137.44p, topping the previous all-time high of 137.43p a litre in May 2011, the AA said.

The rise puts more pressure on Chancellor George Osborne to reduce the tax burden on drivers in his Budget later this month.

Diesel is up to 144.67p a litre which is another new record.

AA president Edmund King said: "This new record for petrol and diesel just confirms what every family and business knows - fuel prices are hurting them badly and there seems no stopping them." A survey of Huddersfield garages showed that prices were slightly lower than the national average but still at record levels, ranging from 133.7 to 135.9. In March last year, drivers in Huddersfield were paying an average of 127.9p a litre for unleaded petrol at local filling stations. A year earlier the pump price of petrol was 112.74p and diesel was 113.79p. Mr King added: "Now that petrol has hit record highs at the pumps the Chancellor must abandon the proposed tax hike and seriously consider reducing fuel duty to stabilise prices. "The current fuel costs and political uncertainty in the Middle East and North Africa means that the Government must bite the bullet and act to stop prices from fuelling inflation and driving people off the roads." Roy Meakin, a spokesman for the Huddersfield branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said drivers were being hard hit. "It is certainly of concern for our members but the feeling is we have no choice but to pay.

"The thing we can do is cut back on motoring and that unfortunately is happening. People are not making the same trips they did at weekends to the coasts and places of interest, which is a shame." Taxi firms are also suffering from the ever-spiralling fuel prices. Mark Horsfall, partner at Marsh-based Mount Taxis, said: "Rising fuel prices are an ongoing concern all the time. We have to keep absorbing and absorbing these extra costs and it means we can't buy new vehicles to replace the older ones as often as we'd like. "I usually buy 3,000 gallons of fuel in advance but now it's the same price to fill the vehicles up at the pumps. "The price is just about the same so why buy it all upfront? We just keep monitoring the bulk prices and hope they'll go down, but they never seem to. If we could get it bulk a couple of pence a gallon cheaper than it is at the pumps then that would be very good.'' Mr Horsfall said it is now difficult to work out a price for longer term contracts such as school runs as some are for three years and it's impossible to know how the price of fuel will change. And he feels fewer people are running cars due to escalating fuel, insurance and other costs. "Taxi firms are busy,'' he said. "But drivers are working harder for less money. And on top of fuel the insurance costs are getting ever higher due to the public liability that is needed. "Normally it is between pounds 2,000 and pounds 3,000 a year but I know one driver who has just been quoted pounds 11,000.''

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Title Annotation:News; Front Page
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Mar 3, 2012
Words:643
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