MOTORISTS in Huddersfield could soon by shelling out £5 a gallon for petrol, industry experts have warned.
The latest fuel price report by motoring organisation the AA showed that a litre of petrol has risen by 1.3p in the past four weeks to stand at an average of 108.06p. Diesel has soared by 3.16p a litre to reach an average of 117.41p.
The average price for petrol in Yorkshire has risen by 1.4p a litre to 107.2p in the past month.
In Huddersfield, the lowest prices at the pumps stand at 105.9p a litre for unleaded and 114.9 for diesel – although the filling station at Hartshead Moor services on the M62 was charging 113.9p for petrol and 123.9 for diesel on Thursday.
Chris Stern, of Paddock-based petrol retailer C&J Stern (Oils) Ltd, said the latest price rises in Huddersfield “translated” to £4.81 a gallon for unleaded and £5.22 a gallon for diesel.
Said Mr Stern: “We have had three price increases in the last week – and no doubt it will continue to rise.
“Crude oil prices are at an all-time high and, the way the market is at the moment, the only way is up. There’s no chink of light at all to suggest prices will go the other way.”
Mr Stern said prices were being affected by a combination of factors, including refinery production problems in Europe; speculators buying commodities, including oil, and continued high demand in the USA – despite that country being in recession.
AA figures showed that, nationally, the average price of petrol is now 15.38p a litre higher than it was a year ago – adding £7.69 to the cost of refilling a typical 50-litre fuel tank. A family with two cars now has to find £32.97 a month more for petrol.
The AA said: “UK average petrol and diesel prices continue to hit record highs, propelled not only by soaring oil prices but the impact on supply of European refinery maintenance problems.”
AA president Edmund King said: “UK motorists are spending more than £10.2m extra on fuel each day compared to last year.
“This is beginning to hit the economy, with car-dependent motorists cutting back on other expenditure. Families are having to reduce high- street spending and businesses, low-income and rural drivers are becoming more vocal about the impact of high fuel prices on their financial well-being.”
Mr King said the AA would be urging Chancellor Alistair Darling to abandon plans for a 2p per litre increase in fuel duty in October.
He added: “The situation is dire now but will get worse with the £5 gallon coming to a garage near you soon.”
Across the UK, London remains the most expensive region for petrol, continuing to reverse the tradition of highest prices in Wales, East Anglia or Northern Ireland.