Call to halt fuel tax increase

Surprisingly high inflation figures have led motoring groups to step up calls for a delay on the Government's planned fuel duty hike.

Even before the rise in Consumer Prices Index from 3.0% in January to 3.2% in February, groups had argued it would be prudent for Chancellor Alistair Darling to delay the 1.84p-a-litre fuel rise.

The increase in inflation has been partly put down to rising fuel prices at the pumps, which have crept back up to 90p a litre and above.

RAC motoring strategist Adrian Tink said: "The inflation figures highlight the continuing concern over the trend of rising petrol prices during 2009.

"Motorists are still being penalised at the pumps despite the cost of oil remaining around $50 a barrel. It's surely time, therefore, to ask why petrol prices remain so high when oil costs nearly 100 dollars a barrel less than it did nine months ago."

He argued that given the current economic slowdown hitting most UK residents, the Government's planned 1.84p increase on April 1 should be reconsidered in order to help out hard-pressed motorists.

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