As the Chancellor of the Exchequer prepares to deliver his Autumn Statement this afternoon, the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) made a last-ditch call for him to scrap plans for two duty increases planned for 2013 that would add 7.00ppl to fuel prices.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: “The Government’s plans for hiking fuel duty by 3.02ppl from 1 January with 20% VAT will push pump prices up by 4.00ppl and will be crippling for both businesses and the consumer. UK motorists still pay the highest duty on fuel in the European Union (EU) at a time when the public is still struggling with the effects of the recent recession. Any increase will add further woes to a struggling economy.
He added: “Fuel tax unfairly penalises the low income earners and rural communities and is deemed to be a regressive tax by the experts. There is now hard evidence that driving habits are changing as consumers struggle to balance their household budgets.”
He said that retail fuel volumes have dropped by 8.0% in the last four years, mainly as a direct result of higher pump prices, and with oil companies and hypermarkets fighting for share of a declining market, the independent forecourt retailers have been caught in the cross-fire with many closing for business.
He continued: “Overall, the UK has been losing an average 400 petrol filling stations every year in the last 10 years. This is one of the many areas of concern that the PRA addressed in a detailed report recently submitted to the Office  for Fair Trading (OFT).
 “The PRA will also continue to lobby Government and their officials to scrap the RPI-based duty increase planned for April next year. With 20% VAT,  the retail price impact could be as much as 3.00ppl at the pump which we believe will damage the recovery of the economy.”