Osborne speaks out in fuel row

Mounting oil prices and non-tax factors are behind the high petrol prices rather than the Government, the Chancellor has said.

George Osborne's comments come after the head of OPEC, which represents 40% of global oil production, told motorists to "blame your Government" for the current prices.

Abudullah al-Badri, secretary general of OPEC, said: "Don't blame OPEC, blame your government. It's not because of the price of oil; it's because of taxes."

It comes as petrol prices continue to soar in the UK despite a fall in wholesale costs which have seen prices drop on forecourts on the continent, according to the AA.

On February 1, the average UK price for petrol was 128.65p per litre, with diesel at 133.38p.

That has helped sustain pressure on Mr Osborne to cancel a 1p duty rise due in April.

Drivers are struggling to cover the costs of motoring, with many looking for a cheaper car insurance quote or vehicle breakdown cover provider to reduce their overall spending.

The Chancellor repeated his pledge to examine that option and said the Government continued to look into the introduction of a "stabiliser" mechanism to iron out big price fluctuations.

Copyright © Press Association 2011