Chancellor Philip Hammond has rebuffed calls for a reduction in fuel duty in his Budget, and has stuck to the freeze that he announced last autumn.

The PRA had given the Treasury a carefully calculated justification for a 3ppl cut in duty, and PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: “It is a disappointment, but it was a very cautious Budget from the Chancellor, with him keeping his Brexit war chest in mind.”

Madderson said there was little in the Budget that would have a significant effect on the forecourt sector, but noted there was a proposal to look at diesel taxation as part of a review of how to improve air quality, and described it as “the demonisation of diesel rolling on”.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “The Chancellor has fired a warning shot at diesel drivers, with the suggestion in the Budget document that a new tax regime covering diesel drivers could be introduced before the end of the year. This uncertainty is bound to be of concern to private and business motorists alike, who will be wanting urgent clarity on just what the Government plans to do. The RAC will take a leading in representing motorists when the consultation goes live.”

For the National Franchised Dealers Association, director Sue Robinson said: “Promoting the uptake of the latest low emission vehicles will bring substantial gains in air quality, but we urge the Government to have a coordinated approach with car dealers and manufacturers regarding this issue. We are looking forward to engaging with the Government ahead of making any tax changes in the Autumn Budget 2017.”