Petrol 'predicted to touch 143p'

Drivers expect to shell out 143p per litre for unleaded petrol and 146 per litre for diesel by the end of this year, a new study shows.

If fuel costs do surge to this predicted level, 15% of motorists will consider replacing their existing car with a more economical model, according to car-buying wesbite webuyanycar.com.

Its survey found that motorists believe a mass switch to fuel-efficient cars will be triggered once average fuel costs touch 184.8p per litre - a 43% rise on prices for January 2011.

With prices climbing by 15% in 2010 and 30% the year before, the prospect of a 43% jump does not seem an impossibility.

Already more than half of drivers are taking steps to cut down motoring costs and fuel consumption, the study showed.

Seven in 10 economising drivers are making fewer car journeys by walking more, 36% are driving lighter by keeping the boot empty and 35% are trying to avoid excessive braking by looking ahead to see if the traffic is slowing down.

However, a worrying 23% of British motorists admit that they are driving out of gear (coasting) which can reduce driver control as engine braking is eliminated, vehicle speed downhill will increase quickly and general responsiveness may suffer.

Copyright © Press Association 2011