Shell AutogasAhead of Budget 2016, the RAC has revealed that fuel prices are already starting to go up, after months of reductions due to fall in the price of oil.

Any increases in the pump price of fuel may compound any increase in fuel duty rumoured to be included in the 2016 Budget – and undermine any claim by the Chancellor that falling fuel prices mean motorists won’t notice the increase.

“With two supermarkets now having increased their prices at the pump,” said RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams, “we may well see others follow suit this week.

“As a result, we’re seeing average prices rise slightly, with a litre of unleaded now being sold for a little under 103p, and diesel just over 103p.”

Crude oil is still relatively cheap though, says the RAC, currently hovering around the $40 per barrel mark. This means that further fuel prices shouldn’t be on the horizon, even if the magic sub-£1 a litre promise seems now to have disappeared.

As things stand, added Williams, “we don’t think motorists need to be concerned that price are going to suddenly shoot up – unless of course the Chancellor decided to increase fuel duty in tomorrow’s Budget.”

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has issued a plea to Osborne, calling for him to resist increasing fuel duty in tomorrow’s Budget.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “The Chancellor must hold his nerve on fuel duty. Diesel duty is a tax on the economy. Hiking it now threatens to slam the breaks on the hard economic recovery. UK fuel duty is by far the highest anywhere in the EU. It is double of that which some of our competitors pay, and a 2p per litre increase will add nearly £1,000 a year to the cost of operating a truck and that will inevitably have to be passed onto consumers.

“Hiking fuel duty will be a triple tax whammy.  It will hit UK competitiveness, put up prices in the shops, and hurt the environment as hauliers will have less money to invest in clean Euro 6 trucks.”