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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Further fuel protests threatened
Petrol price
The first prices over 1 a litre have appeared at some forecourts
Organisers of the 2000 fuel protest, which caused severe disruption when refineries were blocked, say they will act again if fuel tax is not cut.

Fuel Lobby made the announcement as the price of unleaded petrol rose to more than 1 a litre in parts of the UK as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

The group says all UK refineries will be blocked from 0600 BST on 14 September unless price cuts are made.

The Treasury said cutting tax would not solve the problem of high oil prices.

'Inadvertent rises'

A week-long campaign of picketing refineries and depots by thousands of hauliers and farmers in 2000 caused major shortages and was thought to have cost British business 1bn.

There was panic buying of fuel and even food during the week-long protest.

Facts and figures behind UK petrol price rises

Fuel Lobby spokesman Andrew Spence said protesters were prepared to recreate that campaign.

"Every time the fuel companies have raised the price of fuel, taxation inadvertently has risen with it.

"If we don't do something now then when does it stop? 1.10? 1.20? 1.30?

"When does the country have to stand up and say, 'look, come on, this is too much Mr Blair'?"

US priority

But a Treasury spokesman said that road fuel duty on the main types of petrol and diesel were lower than they were six years ago.

More than half the fuel used in the UK bears little or no fuel duty at all
Treasury spokesman

"We believe the biggest priority in terms of reducing fuel costs must be working with the American government to restore production levels affected by the Hurricane Katrina disaster," he said.

"We must also maintain pressure on [the oil producers' cartel] Opec to set their oil production at levels consistent with more stable and sustainable prices.

"More than half the fuel used in the UK bears little or no fuel duty at all... so seeking to address the problem of high oil prices through road fuel duty alone would do nothing for the majority of consumers."

Environmentalists Greenpeace said the government should not bow to "self-centred" fuel protesters.

Campaigner Mark Strutt said: "Oil causes climate change and we import much of it from unstable regions. It's an inevitable fact of life that the price is going to rise."

The average price of normal unleaded petrol in Britain went up by more than two pence over the weekend, to 94.6 pence per litre.

The rise came after oil refineries in the US were knocked out by Hurricane Katrina.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See how petrol prices have risen since 1995



SEE ALSO:
South East fuel tops 1 a litre
05 Sep 05 |  England
UK petrol prices continue to rise
05 Sep 05 |  Business
Katrina stokes petrol price fears
01 Sep 05 |  Business


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