Fuel prices rose over 16p a litre last month as 12 arrested for Wales-England protest
Fuel prices rose a record 16p in June, figures have shown as 12 protestors were arrested for staging a protest on the crossing between Wales and England this week.
RAC analysis shows the average cost of a litre of the fuel at UK forecourts rose by 16.6p last month, from 174.8p to 191.4p. That is the highest monthly increase in records dating back to 2000.
Some 12 people were arrested on Monday as dozens of campaigners calling for a cut in fuel duty targeted the M4 second Severn crossing between Wales and England.
Dozens of police vans and hundreds of officers from both Gwent Police and Avon and Somerset Police were at the Prince of Wales Bridge, which runs between England and Wales, at 8.30am when four people were arrested and 10.45am when another eight people were arrested.
The arrests came as the surge in prices added more than £9 to the cost of filling a typical 55-litre family petrol car, the RAC said. Average diesel prices rose by 15.6p per litre, ending the month at 199.1p.
The RAC said higher pump prices were expected at the start of June due to the cost of oil rising in response to increased demand and continued supply concerns relating to the war in Ukraine.
But five consecutive weeks of falling wholesale costs have not been reflected at the pumps.
Retailers have doubled their average profit margins from a long-term figure of around 6p per litre to 12p per litre, the automotive services company said.
The organisation’s fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “The rate at which pump prices have been rising over the last four weeks is hard to comprehend.
“Not a day in June went by when petrol prices didn’t go up, even though the price retailers pay to buy in fuel went down.
“There’s no doubt that drivers are getting an incredibly raw deal at the pumps at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is being felt ever more acutely.”
Average fuel prices have increased by around 27p per litre for petrol and 21p per litre for diesel since former Chancellor Rishi Sunak implemented a 5p cut in duty in March, leading to calls for the Government to take further action.
Simon Williams went on: “The silence from the Treasury when it comes to supporting drivers through this time of record high pump prices is, frankly, deafening.
“Perhaps it has something do with the fact that it’s benefiting significantly from the increased VAT revenue caused by the high prices.
“We badly need the Government to go beyond just vague words and instead actually implement a clear package of financial support to show they’re on the side of drivers.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel called on police to use new powers which include imprisonment to stop fuel protesters bringing gridlock to major roads.
But Labour’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: “This hapless Conservative Government is so mired in scandal and chaos that it has no answers to the savage price hikes facing working people during a cost-of-living crisis.
“The Tories need to act urgently and tackle the profiteering of petrol giants, and ensure retailers pass on fuel duty cuts to consumers, to put money back in people’s pockets.”
The protests on Monday were understood to have been organised via social media under the banner Fuel Price Stand Against Tax.
Among those arrested was former HGV driver from Cwmbran Vicky Stamper.
The 41-year-old told the PA news agency she and her partner Darren had to give up jobs in Bristol because they could no longer afford the fuel.
She said: “We had to leave those jobs because it was costing us £380 a week just to get to and from work.
“I then lost a job two weeks ago because the company couldn’t afford to put fuel in that many lorries so last in, first out.”
Mobile welder Richard Dite, 44, from Maesteg, was also arrested.
He said before the protest that it was costing him hundreds of pounds in fuel to get to work every week due to price hikes.
“My only option soon will be to put the welding gear in the shed and call it a day, maybe go on the dole,” he said.
“Face it, at this rate I’ll be on more that way.”
Sharon Downs, 46, from Pontypridd was also taken in after taking her HGV on the protest.
“I’m disappointed more people haven’t come with us today but I think the price of fuel is sadly exactly why there’s not more here. And needing to be at work,” she said.
“But something needs to be done about it, we need the tax on fuel to be brought down before this country is on its knees.
“We need more protests and we need more people to join in so our voices are heard, and the Government know we won’t stand for it any more.”
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