The average price of fuel rose almost 5p between mid- May and mid -June which is the second highest monthly increase ever. The average cost of petrol is now 102.66 a litre compared with 97.68p in May. Diesel has risen 1.36p since May 2009 and is now 104.85p a litre.
The AA said the 4.98p petrol increase in the last few weeks means the cost of refilling a typical 50 litre tank has gone up £2.49 in the past month. AA president Edmund King said: "At a time of recession, seeing petrol prices rise almost as fast as they did last summer is a bitter pill for UK drivers to swallow, many of whom have lost their jobs, had their pay frozen or have seen savings income collapse with falling interest rates.
"Last year, huge demand for oil and fuels from China and other developing countries incentivised the stock markets to drive up the price of oil. This year, with hints of 'green shoots' and collapsed demand barely beginning to find its feet again, market speculators are again gambling on future oil demand that could turn out to be a fiction. "So far they have managed to double the price of oil from a December low of 35 dollars a barrel to more than 70 dollars now." He went on: "As higher fuel prices siphon money out of their pocket and undermine their ability to spend on the high street, to the average UK driver this is looking like another summer of petrol price madness. If we continue to see fuel prices at these levels the Chancellor should abandon all plans for the 2p tax increase in September as that would further dent economic recovery."
At present, south west England and Northern Ireland have the most expensive petrol at an average of 103.2p a litre, with northern England having the cheapest (102.3p).