MPs are taking action to make retailers drop their pump prices to match the recent decline

in oil prices. In an Early Day Motion, (which had been signed by 17 MPs at the time Forecourt Trader went to press), they state: "The price of petrol has steadily risen to reach well over 100p per litre on the

premise that these prices reflect the rise in oil prices." They then call on the main petrol retailers "to match the recent decline in oil prices by reducing the price of petrol".

Ray Holloway, Petrol Retailers’ Association (PRA) director, described the move as "ill-informed garbage", saying the price of petrol could be affected by many factors in the international arena. He added: "Cutting fuel tax would mean an immediate reduction in prices for the consumer and would give forecourt traders a little breathing room." Holloway said he had contacted MPs to discuss their ideas.

Meanwhile, the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and the RAC have added their weight to the campaign to encourage the government to scrap its planned 2p rise in fuel duty.With Chancellor Alistair Darling due to introduce the tax hike in April, the BCC, road hauliers and other business members around the UK have written an open letter to Darling slating the rise as "completely unwarranted".

The letter also says the tax increase, which looks set to be followed by another in 2009, could cost the haulage industry an estimated £170m.

It stated that with the price of oil hovering around the $100 a barrel mark, British hauliers were finding it increasingly difficult to compete with their European competitors.

The RAC Foundation has backed the BCC’s stance, warning the 2p rise would be bad for the economy. The charity, which champions motorists’ interests, pointed out that if customers were forced to pay more at the pumps, they would have less to spend elsewhere.

The comments came as Shell announced record profits of £13.9bn - which only added fuel to the fire as this figure was up nearly one third on the previous year.