Petrol prices hit a record average yesterday, with Experian Catalist reporting a figure of 120.13p for a litre of unleaded. According to the AA, in

some parts of the country filling stations have been charging up to 130.9p a litre for unleaded and 132.9p for diesel. The previous record of 119.7p was set on 17 July 2008.

The AA said that a litre of petrol now cost over 10ppl more than compared to the beginning of this year, adding more than £5 to the cost of filling a typical 50-litre tank.

It explained that the wholesale price of petrol had broken through $800 a tonne for the first time since October 2008. And with the pound 13.5% weaker than 18 months ago, it added it was likely that the pump price of petrol would rise another penny to around 121p a litre.

Paul Watters, the AA’s head of public affairs, said: "Comments from retailers confirm research from the AA showing that two-thirds of its members are cutting back to compensate for soaring petrol prices. With some retailers putting up their prices and then bringing them back down over the Easter weekend, the UK road fuel market is clearly at a watershed – and there will be casualties among retailers and motorists.

"We can only hope that the May 6 election produces a result that strengthens the pound and puts downward pressure on pump prices. With potential consumer spending that would help fuel economic recovery being siphoned off at the pump, the stakes are high."

Elsewhere, there were rumblings that we may see fuel protests before the Election.