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Labour: Government plans 'cold comfort for motorists'

The shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh has dismissed the Government's plans to cut petrol prices at motorway service stations and a freeze on the cost of the MoT test:

David Cameron’s cost of living crisis has pushed up the price of owning and running a car.

These announcements will be cold comfort for motorists being squeezed on the road and at home.

Prices have gone up faster than wages in 39 of the 40 months while he has been Prime Minister and working people are almost £1,500 a year worse off.

Greater transparency in fuel prices welcomed

The AA has long campaigned for motorway fuel prices to be displayed at the start of motorways, as they do in France, so that the driver can make an informed choice on where to fill up.

Prices can be 10p per litre more expensive than can be obtained from supermarket pumps or where there is greater local competition for topping up drivers' fuel tanks.

Whilst we understand that Motorway Service Areas have higher running costs, we welcome Government moves for greater transparency in fuel prices.

– Edmund King, AA president


Bid to tackle bogus driving compensation claims

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said whiplash cheats, whose bogus compensation claims have helped to force up average motor insurance premiums, will be targeted by new independent medical panels which will ensure only evidence from accredited professionals can be considered.

We are turning the tide on the compensation culture and helping hard-working people by tackling high insurance premiums and other motoring costs.

It's not right that people who cheat the insurance system get away with it while forcing up the price for everyone else - so we are now going after whiplash fraudsters and will keep on driving premiums down.

Plans designed to reduce petrol prices on the motorway

Plans designed to reduce petrol prices at motorway service stations and a freeze on the cost of the MoT test have been announced by the Government.

A crackdown on whiplash injury fraud is also part of the driver-friendly package to be introduced from next year.

Plans designed to reduce petrol prices at motorway service stations have been announced by the Government. Credit: PA Wire

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the statutory maximum price of the MoT test for a car will be frozen at £54.85 until 2015 - potentially saving up to £50 million for drivers every year.

He said new comparison road signs will be trialled which will show prices at different service stations along a route, making it easier for drivers to get the cheapest deal and encouraging competition on prices.

Union: Two thirds of British workers commute by car

Commuters pictured on the M1 motorway. Credit: PA

Most people travel to work by car, showing how hard household budgets have been hit by rising fuel costs, according to a new report.

A study by the GMB union showed that two thirds of workers in England and Wales travelled by car, as a driver or passenger, almost 20% by public transport and one in 10 walked.

Separate figures for Northern Ireland showed that over four out of five people used a motor vehicle to get to work.

The GMB report, published ahead of the union's annual conference in Plymouth tomorrow, noted that the price of unleaded petrol and diesel had almost doubled over the past decade.

General secretary Paul Kenny said: "These figures demonstrate why the massive hike in the price of fuel and of public transport has hit workers very hard. It is no wonder household budgets have taken a hammering."

Petrol and diesel consumption 'dropped by a fifth'

Petrol and diesel consumption has dropped by a fifth since the start of the credit crunch, according to a new analysis by the Office of National Statistics.

The analysis shows households are struggling to cope with the near doubling of vehicle fuel prices in the past decade.

Spending on vehicle fuel per head per quarter increased from £84 to £130 from 2002 to 2008. Since then average spends have dipped, despite rising petrol prices, falling to a low of £103 in 2009.

ONS figures showed that the quantity of petrol purchased has fallen 18 per cent since 2007.

Petrol and diesel consumption has dropped by a fifth. Credit: Andrey Kholmov/Photas/Tass/Press Association Images

Andrew Pendleton, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth said fuel efficiency and the economic crisis could not explain the long term decline in car journeys or a growing lack of appeal that motor vehicles held for young people.

He said: “There is strong and building evidence that car use has peaked not just in the UK but the US, France, Germany and other developed nations.

"The decline is most marked in younger people whose status is defined by different sorts of technology. They want iPads and iPhones rather than a car."

Mr Pendleton made the comments while speaking to The Independent.


Before tax UK fuel 'some of the cheapest in Europe'

It is not the greedy petrol stations but the insatiable appetite for tax of Governments, past and present, that has been blamed for the high cost of filling up at the pumps. But the authorities also blamed the cost of crude oil, much of it produced by the companies that own the filling stations.

The Office of Fair Trading investigated the petrol industry, and found that before tax, fuel here is amongst the cheapest in Europe.

Yet, once duties are included, motorists here pay more than almost anywhere else.

ITV News Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg reports:

PRA: OFT fuel report missed 'prime opportunity'

The Petrol Retailers Association, that represents independent forecourt retailers in the UK, has criticised the Office of Fair Trading's decision to not proceed with a full market study into the UK retail fuels sector.

This was a prime opportunity, supported by considerable new information from our retailers, to tackle market manipulation of UK wholesale prices and retail prices by the big players.

The establishment has once again turned a blind eye to the need for a full Market Study which would have unmasked the market manipulators, provided proper transparency and helped our economic recovery.

How can the OFT, supported by Government, try and tell motorists and businesses that the market is working in the consumer’s interests?

– PRA Chairman Brian Madderson

FairFuelUK: OFT report 'massive disappointment'

Campaign group FairFuelUK has tweeted:

AA: 'We're disappointed in OFT's report'

Edmund King, President of the Automobile Association, has said he is "disappointed" with the Office of Fair Trading's finding that the fuel market is "working well".

Edmund King, President of the Automobile Association Credit: ITV News

He told ITV News:

"We're disappointed in this report, yes we know there's competition in the market, there's bound to be with four big supermarkets.

"But what there isn't is transparency on prices and this is what motorists get fed up about.

"A simple thing they could have recommended is that the wholesale price has to be published alongside the retail price and then drivers can make up their own mind whether they're getting a fair price at the pumps."

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