Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

How Soaring Price of Petrol Is Hitting Teesside Drivers HARD-PRESSED Motorists Are

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

How Soaring Price of Petrol Is Hitting Teesside Drivers HARD-PRESSED Motorists Are

Article excerpt

HARD-PRESSED motorists are paying record high prices for petrol. EMMA GREENHALGH looks at the effect on Teesside businesses, families and community groups THE average cost of a litre of unleaded at pumps nationwide has soared to 138.1p - while diesel is topping 145.2p.

Mean prices in northern England are slightly cheaper than on southern petrol forecourts. But that is little consolation to Teesside drivers.

One online cost-check site had the most pricey pump within a five-mile radius of Middlesbrough charging 137.9p for unleaded this week. For Redcar it was 139.9p and in Stockton it was a penny more than that.

For diesel, Teesside's top price was 145.9p in Redcar. But the 144.9p rate in Middlesbrough and Stockton was 12p a litre more than reported by the Gazette in January last year.

As a result, car users are searching for ways to reduce costs - from changing their vehicles, to car shares or even walking miles to work.

Among them is Acklam mum-of-five Lisa Rafferty. A tank of diesel for her people carrier is nearing the pounds 100 mark - while for Billingham haulage company Devereux, which spends several million a year on diesel, the rising costs are "absolutely awful".

Commuters to Teesside - covering up to 80 miles to get to get to work and back - are also feeling the pinch.

Hard-up community groups, which are forced to travel cross-country to compete or perform, are also being stung by costs.

Campaigners FairFuel UK this week staged a mass lobby of Parliament, calling for a cut in fuel duty - which is set to rise 3p a litre in August.

And the AA has also backed the freeze on duty. Spokesman Luke Bosdet said the North-east and Yorkshire have the advantage of being a "heartland" for Morrisons and Asda - as supermarket forecourts are generally cheaper.

But he added: "The simple fact of the matter is that people are finding these fuel prices increasingly unaffordable and the ones being hit the hardest are the ones living in rural areas. …

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