02/03/2012 09:49 GMT | Updated 06/03/2012 06:04 GMT

Petrol Prices Reach Record High

The price of petrol has reached a record high, meaning more misery for hard-pressed motorists.

The average cost of a litre of petrol has risen to 137.44p, topping the previous all-time high of 137.43p a litre in May 2011, the AA said.

The rise puts more pressure on Chancellor George Osborne to reduce the tax burden on drivers in his Budget later this month.

Diesel is up to 144.67p a litre which hits another record high.

AA president Edmund King said: "This new record for petrol and diesel just confirms what every family and business knows - fuel prices are hurting them badly and there seems no stopping them.

"We have asked the Chancellor to do what he can to protect the UK economy from fuel market volatility and record high prices which are stemming growth."

Mr King went on: "There is no more give in family and business budgets despite them cutting back on fuel purchase and other spending so they can get to work and go about their business.

The price of petrol has risen by more than 1.25p a litre in the past week.

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

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

Shadow Treasury minister Cathy Jamieson said: "These record petrol prices come at a time when hard-pressed families are already being hit hard by tax rises and spending cuts that go too far and too fast.

"We need to see urgent action from George Osborne in the Budget to ease the squeeze and boost jobs and growth."

Friends of the Earth's policy and campaigns director, Craig Bennett, said: "Motorists are paying the price for the failure of successive governments to reduce our cars' dependency on increasingly expensive overseas oil.

"Fuel duty cuts are not the solution. With oil prices hikes set to continue we need a fresh approach to give us a transport system we can all afford.

"Ministers must help fast-track the production of electric vehicles and super-efficient cars that burn less fuel, and provide decent alternatives to driving, such as better public transport and safer cycling."