The chorus calling for an end to plans to increase fuel duty in January continues to grow, with yesterday's parliamentary debate on the matter being welcomed as a sign that the rising cost of petrol is now a mainstream political issue.
While all motorists feel the pinch when prices go up at the pumps, small businesses that rely on road transport are particularly concerned about the proposed 2013 rise in petrol tax of three pence per litre.
Last month, the National Institute for Economic Research went as far as to suggest that cancelling the rise would bring enough benefit to the flagging economy to safeguard 35,000 jobs, warning that the proposed increase would lower UK GDP by 0.1 per cent.
The FairFuelUK Campaign has been leading efforts to convince George Osborne and the Treasury that increasing fuel duty would cause more financial headaches than it would cure.
One of its prominent backers, the Freight Transport Association (FTA), has urged the chancellor to give up on the plans "as a bad job".
James Hookham, managing director of policy and communications at the FTA, said that research highlighting the impact of fuel duty on the wider economy has increased the pressure on the government to axe or postpone the January 1st scheduled rise.
He said: "We have been able to get this issue to the heart of the political debate in Westminster and ensure the weight of public and business opinion is brought to bear on decisions about future tax rates.
"We hope and expect that George Osborne will not only cancel the increase, but will abandon any further rises before the next election, as it is clear that a precedent has been set and that similar debates and votes will take place ahead of all future planned increases."
Managing your fuel costs
Of course, whether or not the rise in petrol prices goes through, there are steps motorists can take to limit the cost of running their car. Limiting use and carpooling can help people lower their petrol spend, but one of the best ways to put a cap on prices is with smart driving – that will not only improve fuel efficiency but lower the risk of damage that requires expensive maintenance bills – and tyres have a key role to play in this.
• Keeping your tyres correctly inflated is a great way to ensure efficient running of your vehicle, with some experts claiming this can lead to as much as a three to five per cent reduction in petrol bills when compared to those for a vehicle with under-inflated tyres.
• Choosing the right kind of tyres is also incredibly important – with research by consumer group Which? suggesting, for example, that eco-tyres can lead to fuel savings of as much as six per cent when compared to conventional treads.
• Replacing tyres before they become too worn will also improve fuel-efficiency, as well as lowering the risk of having an accident or being penalised for having illegal tyres. It is always a good idea to buy new tyres rather than part-worn.
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Posted by Danielle Barge