Commuters switching to cars face record UK petrol prices to fill up

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Commuters forced to drive to work because of rail strikes are facing record costs to fill up their cars as UK fuel prices continue to rise.

The average price of a litre of petrol hit 188.7p on Sunday after five weeks of relentless record prices when the price has jumped 23p from the 165.5p of mid-May.

Diesel also hit a new high of 196.1p a litre and may soon hit an average of £2 as tight market conditions persist.

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The price increases will add further misery to people who are turning to the road to get to work this week amid widespread rail strikes in Great Britain.

A full tank of petrol for a 55-litre family car now costs £103.79, while the diesel equivalent is £107.83, the RAC said.

Fuel prices have been pushed up by a combination of factors including a weakening of the pound against the dollar, the war in Ukraine and a squeeze on refining capacity.

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The government has accused petrol retailers of profiteering by not passing on a 5p cut to fuel duty included in March’s spring statement. Retailers claim their margins have been squeezed and they are not ripping customers off.

The Competition and Markets Authority is investigating the sector and is due to report back on its findings next month.

The RAC fuel spokesperson, Simon Williams, said: “This is yet more bad news for drivers, particularly with this week’s rail strikes leaving many people with no choice but to use their cars.

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“We strongly hope the extent of the rises seen in both fuels will finally force the government to take action to ease the burden on drivers by further cutting duty or lessening the punishing impact of VAT, which currently accounts for 31p a litre on petrol – 6p more than it was before the Ukraine war began.”

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Williams said petrol prices should not be rising because wholesale prices have settled, due to a fall in the price of oil – its first full-week decline in four weeks.

Investors ditched oil last week after the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates and fears over a global recession grew.

The CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said oil prices had “suddenly experienced an air pocket” over concerns of a global slowdown and weaker demand.

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