PETROL pump prices could soon reach £2 a litre, the head of the industry body has warned as the cost of living crisis intensifies.

Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, said the fluctuating wholesale costs could mean pump prices “go up to that level”.

The warning comes as Chancellor Rishi Suak comes under intense pressure to cut fuel duty in his spring statement on Wednesday, with speculation he could do so by 5p a litre.

Fuel duty is currently levied at 57.95p per litre for petrol and diesel, with VAT at 20 per cent charged on top of the total price.

However the speed and scale of recent increases means cutting duty may have little effect.

New figures from the data firm Experian Catalist showed the average price of a litre of fuel at UK forecourts on Sunday was 167p for petrol and 179p for diesel.

That represents an increase of 18p for petrol and 26p for diesel in a month, as the war in Ukraine has raised fears of shortages.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid today refused to say if Mr Sunak would cut fuel duty. 

The former Chancellor told BBC Breakfast: “When it comes to fuel duty, I think it’s important to reflect that - I think for 11 years now - the Government has not increased fuel duty and that has led to a significant amount of support for motorists up and down the country.” 

Mr Balmer told Sky News his association, which represents independent forecourts, insisted his members “don’t want to charge” record prices.

But asked if average prices could soon hit 200p per litre, he said fluctuating wholesale costs mean pump prices “could go up to that level”.

He added: “We hope not, but it’s obviously very hard to predict at the moment.”

But the AA accused retailers of failing to pass on a recent fall in wholesale costs.

Spokesman Luke Bosdet said: “Wholesale petrol and diesel costs started to fall away dramatically on March 9, yet more than 10 days later prices at the pumps continue to set new records.

“Even with oil rebounding to 110 US dollars a barrel at the end of last week, wholesale petrol on Friday was down 12p a litre on the March 8 peak.”

Mr Bosdet said supermarkets had failed to spark industry-wide price cuts.

He said: “Pre-pandemic, the retailers would sit on lower-cost savings and wait for either Asda or Morrisons to announce price cuts, and then start to bring their prices down.

“Now that that competitive thrust has largely gone, drivers and businesses in desperate need of the financial relief of lower pump prices must struggle on.”

The RAC said “the window for pump prices to come down appears to have been well and truly closed” as both oil prices and wholesale fuel costs were now rising.

Fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “While there has been talk of a 5p cut in fuel duty, this may not be deep enough to make a real difference to drivers who are facing the highest ever costs to fill their tanks.

“Ensuring all drivers fairly and fully benefit from the fuel duty cut depends entirely on retailers reducing their prices and not using it as an opportunity to take a greater profit on every litre they sell.

“On the other hand, reducing VAT, which is a tax on a tax, prevents this from happening and would guarantee drivers benefit fully.”

Mr Javid today pledged to push for more help for those with disabilities who are set to be hit the hardest by the dramatic rise in the cost of living.

He said vulnerable groups were “some of the most important people in our society” after he was told of the fears of those facing spiralling energy costs.


Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Javid was told of individual circumstances by presenter Martin Lewis, who is also the founder of MoneySavingExpert.

Mr Lewis said one woman whose husband used a ventilator, had energy costs set to rise from around £180 a month to £270 in April and then £360 in October.

Quoting her, he said: “We don’t have the heating on and sit with blankets on us.”

Another woman, a single mother who is also disabled, said although her disability benefits through Personal Independence Payments (PIP) had risen by £3 a month, her council tax had gone up by £5 a month while her electricity bill was set to double from £76 to £143.

Mr Javid said PIP payments were “regularly kept under review”, adding they “do often rise when we see rising inflation”.

He said: “More broadly, of course, whether you’re disabled or not, there are other levels of support.”

Asked by Mr Lewis whether he would “champion” those who were most vulnerable, he said: “Yes, absolutely.

“Those are some of the most important people in our society and that is exactly the kind of people that we should do everything we can to support, including from my department and the NHS.”

But he said there was already “a huge amount of support” which had been announced.