Garage Watch and the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers are calling on the Chancellor to make an early announcement on his plans for fuel duty in the forthcoming budget.

The two organisations fear that with oil prices at a record high and still rising, fuel prices could easily break the £1-a-litre mark by the next Budget.

And with supermarkets continuing to subsidise discounted fuel prices with shop sales, Garage Watch and the FPS say the artificially low price gives the government the green light to go ahead with the 2ppl tax hike already announced, and not as yet withdrawn.

Mark Bradshaw, chief executive of Garage Watch, said: “It would be madness for the Chancellor to even consider raising duty at this time, and to keep us all on the edge of our seats is reckless.” Bradshaw added that apart from the technical issues of pole signs and pumps accommodating £1 prices, there is still a danger of future unrest and possible blockades as motorists and hauliers are pushed to their limits.

“We need to know where we stand so plans can be made to cope with future prices,” said Bradshaw. “I would not be surprised to hear that protest groups were already making plans. An announcement now could quell those fears.”

Susan Hancock, chief executive of the FPS, said: “If the prices at the pump had followed market prices, as the commercial sector’s prices have, the increase would have been so great that the government would have been forced to reduce duty, not consider raising it.”