There was slight relief for motorists in the budget yesterday as the 3p per litre rise in petrol and diesel duty will be applied in stages over the next nine months.
In an attempt to appease voters and yet be seen to be tackling the large public borrowing deficit, the Chancellor announced yesterday that he will be gradually introducing the planned 3p rise in fuel duty rather than applying the tax hike in its entirety on April 1st.
This means that fuel tax will rise by 1p per litre in April, followed by further 1p per litre rises in October and January.
With petrol and diesel already costing £1.16 in town supermarkets, and more in outlying areas, this staged tax rise is likely to prevent fuel costs rising above the psychologically important £1.20 per litre before the election, at least for most motorists.
Motorists should realise that the full 3p per litre tax hike will be fully implemented by January 2011 and this will add around £200 per year to the motoring costs of the average family.