Alert: UK: Diesel prices have hit an all-time high image

The RHA survey, published to members every Friday, shows the national average price actually paid by transport companies for bulk diesel deliveries that week. It is widely used by RHA members to adjust their haulage rates, or prices.

On some contracts, the customers agree to pay a surcharge linked automatically to the fluctuations in the diesel price.

This week’s price, published at lunchtime, showed a record high national average price of 109.48 pence a litre before VAT, up by 0.62p on the week before. The previous high level was achieved in 2008, when soaring diesel prices spiked at 108.97 pence a litre.

“Diesel prices are driving up prices for everyone living in the UK and for every business. Against this background, it seems inconceivable that Chancellor George Osborne would go ahead with a duty increase in April that would not only be the eighth since November 2008 but would also be the highest single increase for more than a decade,” says RHA director of policy Jack Semple.

“Soaring diesel prices are already hitting the cash flow of the road haulage industry and seriously affecting many of our customers. The last thing that the UK economy needs is for the Treasury to add to the pain with the planned duty rise of between 3 and 4p – a pump price rise of 4-to-5p, including VAT,” Semple said.

The increase in petrol and diesel will not be one penny, as has been reported in much of the media, but between 3p and 4p. The duty increase formula for April is the RPI forecast for the end of September (RPI is currently 5.1%) applied to the current duty rate of 58.95, plus one penny. With 20% VAT added, that means between 4p and 5p at the pump.

Were the duty increase to go ahead, duty increases would total 25% in 28 months.