It is only a matter of when and not if petrol prices will hit a record high as the 1p a litre fuel duty increase comes into effect, according to one motoring expert.
The average price for a litre of unleaded will be 119p after the fuel duty rise - close to 2008's record high of 119.7p.
Chancellor Alistair Darling could have hit motorists harder, but he ruled in the Budget to implement the near-3p fuel duty rise - scheduled for April 1 - in three stages.
The first one penny increase will be Thursday, April 1, followed by another 1p rise in October and a further 0.76p hike next January.
RAC motoring strategist Adrian Tink said: "Motorists are currently seeing petrol prices rise on a daily basis. This fuel duty increase is only going to add to the misery as motorists see their hard-earned cash swallowed up at the pumps.
"Worryingly, it's now a case of when, rather than if, the record petrol prices will be broken. The Chancellor had the opportunity to give motorists a bit of respite but has only staggered the pain rather than ease it."
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