The prices of fuel at UK forecourts have hit record highs, as the cost of living crisis intensifies.
The average pump price for petrol reached 167.64p a litre, the RAC said, surpassing the previous record of 167.30p set on 22 March.
Diesel prices rose to an average of 180.90p a litre at the end of Tuesday, passing the previous peak of 180.29p reached on Monday. The prices of both fuels could be pushed higher by a full EU ban on Russian energy imports.
The highs come amid accusations that petrol retailers have been profiteering by not passing on the 5p a litre cut to fuel duty announced by the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, in the spring statement in March.
The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said the cut did “not appear to have been passed through to forecourt prices in any visible or meaningful way”. He urged retailers to rectify this, and said he had asked the Competition and Markets Authority to look into the matter.
Consumers are facing a squeeze on household budgets, with the price of food rising and energy bills soaring. Inflation hit 9% in April, the highest level for more than 40 years.
The AA has calculated that the cost of filling the typical 55-litre tank has risen during the year from £70.61 to £92.20 for petrol and from £71.94 to £99.48 for diesel.
Luke Bosdet, a spokesperson for the motoring group, said: “Despite his best efforts, the chancellor must feel like King Canute having tried to reverse the tide of rising pump prices. At least … he can say that UK drivers would be £2.75 a tank even more worse off now had he not tried to take action in March.
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“He hasn’t been helped by a fuel trade that, despite a 16p-a-litre fall in petrol costs that coincided with the spring statement, couldn’t even pass on the full 5p fuel duty cut and the 1p VAT reduction that it brought with it.”
Simon Williams, a spokesperson for the RAC, said: “While the average price of both petrol and diesel would have been far higher without the historic duty cut, it’s also unfortunately the case that drivers haven’t seen the full benefit at the pumps due to major retailers upping their margins.”
Petrol and diesel retailers are facing an increase in logistics and refining costs as a result of a multitude of global factors including the war in Ukraine. This is despite a fall in oil prices since March.