Motorists braced for hike in petrol prices

Derry motorists are bracing themselves for another steep in hike in petrol prices – despite the fact that Northern Ireland is already the most expensive place in the UK to buy fuel.

The Government remains committed to adding another five pence duty to petrol in next week’s budget even though prices at the pump have rocketed in the past 12 months for a variety of reasons.

The global oil price is the main driving factor for petrol prices and that has not been helped by recent unrest in north Africa, particularly Libya.

According to new figures released by the Automobile Association, the price of both unleaded and diesel is higher in Northern Ireland than any other part of the UK.

The average price of a litre unleaded fuel in Derry is 130.9, which is amongst the highest in the country while Strabane tops the table at an average price of 133 pence per litre.

The cost of diesel is even greater at, on average, an extra five pence per litre.

A tank of petrol has gone up by £2 in just the past month, the AA says.

This means that for a family with two petrol cars, it is costing them an extra £8 a month for fuel.

AA president Edmund King says the Government needs to reconsider adding an extra duty in next month’s budget.

“Drivers are already contributing 5p a litre more in VAT from petrol and diesel so far this year,” he said.

“If this continues, the Treasury will gain an extra £1.25billion over the year and maybe more if stock markets push oil prices higher.

“Surely drivers are already paying their share towards filling the budget deficit with some breaking under the strain on their own finances.

“Turmoil in the Middle East, with its impact on oil and pump prices is already adding to financial uncertainty for poorer drivers. The AA asks the Government for some respite by cancelling the fuel duty increase on April 1.

“If no, tales of the rural poor being marooned in their villages and people cutting back on food to keep the car on the road so that they can go to work will become more common.”