North-South devide on petrol prices

Travellers motoring to tourist hot spots in the summer holidays are set to suffer from a continuing north-south divide on petrol prices, the AA warned today.

Average petrol prices in southern Britain are almost 2p a litre higher than in northern Britain, compared with a difference of just over 1p a litre last summer, according to an AA fuel price report.

This will particularly hit those needing to fill up in the West Country - one of the top holiday locations, the AA said.

It added that pump prices are now nearly 14.5p a litre higher than the start of last year's summer holiday season.

Petrol prices between mid-June and mid-July this year fell from an average of 118.08p a litre in mid-June this year to 117.46p now, while diesel went down from 120.52p a litre to 119.73p.

The most expensive petrol at present is to be found in London where prices average 118.7p a litre. The cheapest, at 116.2p a litre, is in north west England and in Yorkshire and Humberside.

The dearest diesel is currently in Northern Ireland (121.1p a litre) and the least-expensive is in Yorkshire and Humberside (118.8p).

AA president Edmund King said: "Summer is the time when lack of fuel-price competition in the most populous part of the UK and sustained increases in fuel duty bear down hardest on businesses that rely on customers to drive to them, such as in the tourism industry. Petrol retailers and the Treasury need to remember that.

"The average price of petrol and diesel may have fallen 3p-4p from the highs of mid-May but fuel is still 14% more expensive than this time last year and that will hurt holidaymakers and their hosts alike."