The AA says drivers have been caught between a pound weakened against the dollar and soaring wholesale prices, both due to stock market speculation.
- Yorkshire and Humberside and the north of England are the cheapest for petrol at the moment at 137.6p a litre
- Prices in London and Scotland at an average of 137.8p
- Northern Ireland and south-east England are the most expensive at 145.2p
- Drivers used 1.465 billion litres of petrol last month, down 14 million on the previous all-time low set in March last year and nearly 100 million below December's consumption of 1.564 billion
The falling pound and stock market speculators are driving up the cost of petrol. The AA says after surging 5p a litre over a month, the price of petrol at the pumps has gone up a further 1p in the last five days.
The AA says the average cost of petrol is now 138.32p a litre. Diesel has risen 4.78p from its mid-January price to stand at an average of 145.10p. The latest figures show that petrol has risen 6.24p a litre since early January, adding £3.12 to the cost of refilling a typical 50-litre tank.
Petrol prices are expected to rise by 4 pence a litre in the next few days as retailers pass on increased wholesale costs to motorists, the Telegraph reports.
The rise has been forecast by the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), who said wholesale prices had risen by five pence a litre since Christmas. Brian Madderson, chairman of the PRA, said:
"Independent retailers have been soaking up this increase at the expense of already tight margins because they know how hard the motorist is squeezed. But the floodgates will have to open soon."
The AA, which has forecast a smaller rise of 2.5 pence a litre, accused the industry of failing to pass on recent falls in wholesale prices to motorists as quickly as increases. Edmund King, president of the AA, said:
"Wholesale petrol prices turned upward in the first week of January, average pump prices six days later. If falls in wholesale were reflected as quickly, no one would mind, but they’re not."
The Petrol Retailers Association is warning that petrol prices could go up in the next few days.
After three months of falling prices at the pumps, wholesale prices have risen by five pence a litre since Christmas.
ITV Daybreak's Katy Fawcett reports.
Petrol prices have fallen but drivers are still being short-changed, according to the AA.Read the full story ›
The average UK domestic energy bill is £1,252, but the cost of fuel for the average car consuming 1,200 litres a year is over £1,500.
This week the Government said it was going to tackle high gas and electricity bills, yet lets drivers and businesses down by not reacting swiftly to runaway wholesale and pump prices.
Motorists received another blow earlier this week when Labour's Commons motion to have the planned January 3p-a-litre fuel duty rise deferred was defeated.
However there is speculation that Chancellor George Osborne will announce a postponement of the rise in his autumn statement next month.
The AA have said that drivers and businesses are still being short-changed, despite the threat of an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation of the road fuel market.
On average, the cheapest petrol at the moment is in Yorkshire and Humberside (134.3p a litre) and the most expensive is in south-east England at 135.7p.
Yorkshire and Humberside also has the cheapest diesel (141.0p) with Northern Ireland the most expensive (142.6p).
Petrol prices have fallen but drivers are still being short-changed, according to the AA.
Average petrol prices have gone down from 138.95p a litre in mid October to 135.08p now, with diesel dropping from 143.74p a litre to 141.89p.
But the fall in wholesale petrol prices across Europe should have knocked UK pump prices down by 10p to 11p a litre, the AA said.
Economic Secretary Chloe Smith faced a difficult round of interviews as she attempted to explain the decision to scrap a planned fuel duty increase on BBC's Newsnight.
Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has blamed the Chancellor George Osborne for what is being regarded as a very poor performance by the junior minister.
I was at a dinner last night so didn't see Newsnight, however, if Osborne sent Chloe on re scrapping 3p he is a coward as well as arrogant.
Newsnight last night would have been a tough gig for a Minister with years of experience - Chloe is a good egg and didn't deserve that.
The submarine Chancellor sacrifices another Minister whilst he slips under the surface...again.
Asked whether Ms Dorries would be disciplined for her attack on Mr Osborne, a source close to the Prime Minister said: "Nadine is Nadine, isn't she? What can you do?"