The RMI Petrol Retailers’ Association (PRA) has positively welcomed the Government’s decision to not go ahead with the 3ppl fuel duty increase in August.

Brian Madderson, PRA chairman said: “PRA has lobbied against the planned August increase since its announcement in Autumn 2011. PRA believes that fuel tax unfairly penalises low income earners, single families and rural communities that often have poor public transport alternatives. There is evidence that driving habits are changing as consumers struggle to balance their household budgets.

“By delaying the duty increase the Government now has time to review the economy in time for the Autumn Statement when further reviews of fuel tax can be made.

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announced the government has frozen a 3ppl rise in fuel duty due in August until January 2013. The move follows a campaign by groups, including the Petrol Retailers Association, who argued the fuel duty increase would damage the economy.

Madderson continued: “PRA is concerned, however, that the Chancellor is only delaying the duty increase until 2013. If the increase was to go ahead in January the 3.02ppl will in fact amount to 4.00ppl due to the 20% VAT added, which we believe will deter the green shoots of economic recovery.

“With both 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. Overall, the UK has been losing an average 400 petrol filling stations every year in the last 10 years, with 300 closing this year alone. The closures are creating ‘fuel deserts’ in some areas which is to the detriment of the consumer. It is RMI petrol’s position that the Government cannot allow this to continue.

“PRA will continue to engage with Government to ensure that businesses and the consumer are fully represented when future fuel taxation in being considered.”