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The rising cost of petrol and diesel in the UK is something that causes British motorists an ongoing headache – pump prices are increasing in line with Government taxes and crude oil inflation – petrol has risen from 76p per litre to 136p per litre in ten years, and from 78p per litre to 142p per litre for diesel in the same period. However, the Office of Fair Trading are denying that the market is unfair, and instead point to competition between petrol stations, and Britain’s relatively low prices compared to the rest of Europe.

One of the main criticisms levelled against petrol prices in the UK is how much stations charge over the wholesale price they pay for petrol; this information is difficult to recover, despite claims by the Office of Fair Trading that the market is not unduly unfair to drivers – how much can be charged on pumps can also vary across the country, and at different times of the year. Motorist groups are, however, criticalof the lack of transparency about petrol prices.

In terms of whether petrol prices will come down in the future, much of this change will be made by the Government, who levy tax charges on petrol and diesel – as well as Fuel Duty, petrol includes VAT and VAT on Fuel Duty – while wholesaler prices may be less, Government tax brings the amount paid by the consumer up to an amount that is amongst the highest in Europe. The government did, though, decide to delay a 3p rise in Fuel Duty in January as a way of easing the rapid inflation of prices.

Whether or not petrol prices will rise or fall is also dependent on the cost of crude oil, and the various factors that go into its changing value around the world; the current Eurozone crisis, the state of the US economy, and the fall out from the Arab Spring in the Middle East all contributes to how much oil sells for around the world; demand is generally down compared to previous decades, despite the increasing role of countries such as China within the oil market.

In this context, there is no clear sign at present as to whether the price of petrol and diesel will recover. As long as the economy continues to be in recession, and while the Government can gradually increase Fuel Duty as a lucrative source of revenue, petrol prices are likely to stay at a high level. This increase is also in line with the rising cost of home fuel, itself tied to the production and distribution of oil around the world.

What, then, are your options if you’re paying a lot every month on your petrol or diesel? Primarily, you can try to drive more efficiently, which means reducing habits such as over braking and over accelerating. You can also look to buy more fuel efficient cars and hybrids that can save you on mileage and road tax. Some good investments at the moment include the Chevrolt Volt, which has an electric motor and generator, and can deliver 235.4 mpg; the Toyota Prius Plug-In is also able to generate a mileage of 134.5 on its combined engine and electric motor.

Author Bio: Liam Ohm writes about motoring, from Inchcape Toyota Burton to how to save fuel. In his spare time he enjoys renovating old cars.