MOTORISTS in Huddersfield have been warned to brace themselves for another rise in petrol prices.
One leading forecourt operator said prices at the pumps could rise by another 2p a litre over the next six weeks.
Bernard Stern, of Paddock-based C J Stern (Oils), said price rises were being fuelled by fears over terrorism in the Middle East and rising demand from China and the USA.
He said a further increase was likely despite moves by oil-producing countries to step up production.
Worries about rising petrol prices have prompted calls for Chancellor Gordon Brown to abandon his planned 2p rise in fuel duty this September.
Mr Stern said motorists were getting nervous about further price rises and possible petrol shortages.
"There is a feeling among the public that they should keep their tanks topped up," he said.
"People are worried about further price rises and the possibility of another `fuel protest' if the Chancellor goes ahead and adds 2p on fuel duty as planned.
"That's enough to convince people that they should keep their tanks filled to the brim."
Mr Stern said that petrol prices in the Huddersfield area had risen by about 12% over the past year - with most of that increase coming in the past few months.
He said his company was selling unleaded fuel at 80.9p a litre compared with 71.9p a year ago. Diesel had risen to 81.9p against 74.9p. Figures from motoring organisation the AA showed that the average price of unleaded petrol in the Huddersfield area now stands at 82p against a UK average of 82.73p. The lowest price for unleaded in Huddersfield is 79.9p.
The average for diesel in Huddersfield is 82.82p against a UK average of 83.67. The lowest price is 80.9p.
Earlier this week, Roy Holloway, director of the Petrol Retailers Association, warned that forecourt prices were bound to rise further unless the Chancellor changed his mind about the 2p fuel duty rise in September.
However, Prime Minister Tony Blair has ruled out intervening to halt the increase.