Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Monday, 19 May 2008 18:21 UK

Fuel prices 'keep cars off road'

Traffic on London's M25
Motorists have been hit by petrol and diesel price rises this year

High prices of petrol and diesel are making UK drivers think twice about travelling by car, a survey suggests.

The AA polled 17,500 members, and found 27% had cut back on other areas of spending, 16% had decided to travel less by car, and 21% had done both.

Petrol prices have risen sharply this year, although government figures have only shown car traffic falling 2%.

The Petrol Retailers Association says that average prices could go up as much as 5 pence a litre by the weekend.

"I expect that motorists and diesel users in particular are going to pay more at the pumps in the coming weeks, possibly as soon as the bank holiday, from where they are now," said Ray Holloway, director of the Petrol Retailers Association.

"The simple reason is that the wholesale price of oil sent diesel up 3 pence last week and there's more to come."

Accelerating diesel

The average price of a litre of unleaded petrol in the UK is currently 113.01p while the average diesel price is 124.87p.

That compares with average figures from three months ago of 104.02p for unleaded and 109.30p for diesel.

Diesel prices have gone up particularly fast as a result of a lack of refining capacity.

Official figures from the Department for Transport showed that car traffic had fallen by 2% in the first three months of 2008 compared with the same period of 2007.

Fuel prices have accelerated as a result of the rising price of oil, which set a record high near $128 a barrel on Friday.

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