Petrol prices are set to reach an all-time high, piling pressure on Chancellor George Osborne to cut fuel taxes.

The average price of a litre of petrol on Wednesday this week was 137.34p, with the AA predicting that the record high of 137.43p, achieved last May, will be passed today.

Key Points

  • Petrol prices predicted to reach record high today
  • Average price per litre was 137.34p on Wednesday
  • Cost of diesel already passed all-time high

Diesel has already passed its all-time high and on Wednesday stood at an average of 144.60p a litre. Two years ago petrol cost 112.74p a litre, with diesel at 113.79p.

The price of petrol has risen 1.25p a litre in the past week. Overall, UK drivers are spending £6.81 million extra a day on fuel compared to a year ago, and £24.2 million more a day than they were two years ago.

It now costs drivers £3.45 more than a year ago to fill a typical 50-litre tank with petrol, while the cost has risen £12.30 compared with two years ago.

The extra monthly cost to a family with two petrol cars, each consuming an average 106.17 litres a month, has risen £2.65 in the last week, £14.65 in the last year and £52.24 in the last two years.

Prices higher in countryside

Meanwhile, a survey by the Countryside Alliance shows the price of diesel in rural filling stations is, on average, 4p more than in urban areas. The alliance says cars are becoming an "unaffordable necessity" for many in rural communities.

The costliest diesel, at 146.9p a litre, is in Purbeck in Dorset and Ryedale in North Yorkshire. In contrast, diesel in Birmingham and in Dartford in south east London is "only" 139.7p a litre.

Countryside Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner says: "Not only do people living in rural areas have to drive further to go to work, further to access essential services like schools, doctors and the supermarket, but they have to pay a lot more for their diesel to do so.

"The cost of fuel is a major concern for everyone who lives in the countryside, and cars are fast becoming an unaffordable necessity for many rural families. We urge the Chancellor to help the rural economy get back on its feet and to cut fuel duty in his forthcoming Budget."

The alliance survey follows findings earlier this week that UK motorists pay more in fuel tax than any other drivers in Europe.

A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said cutting fuel duty would create thousands of new jobs at no loss to the Treasury. See the Cheap Petrol guide.