The PRA has called for a temporary reduction in fuel duty to take account of rising fuel prices caused by tension in the Middle East.

The situation has prompted speculation by traders which has in turn forced the price of Brent Crude oil to a six-month high of US$115.65 a barrel.

The PRA says that as the US discusses military action against Syria the geo-political tensions across the Middle East have escalated to new levels of danger. Not only Syria but continuing difficulties in Egypt, threats from Iran and domestic disorder in Libya are all combining to make the essential oil sources for much of Europe look increasingly at risk.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson commented: "The PRA forecast the crude oil rise two weeks ago. As expected this is a grim outlook for retailers, businesses and motorists across the UK.

"Since August 8 the Platts-based wholesale cost of petrol and diesel has risen by 3 pence per litre (ppl) and it is likely that there are further price rises ahead.

"Independent retailers buying on a daily basis have no alternative but to increase prices at the pump as most have no lucrative alternative business streams with which to subsidise fast rising fuel costs.

"The 5ppl increase at the pump that the PRA predicted may now happen sooner as uncertainty continues to grip the entire Middle East. The only positive is that Pound Sterling has remained firm against the US Dollar so UK fuel prices are currently not affected by poor conversion rates. "The PRA urge the Chancellor to temporarily reduce fuel duty as an immediate measure to prevent the UK’s fragile economic recovery from stalling. After all, at these higher prices the Treasury is benefitting from extra VAT at 20%."