YORKSHIRE’S fuel costs are the cheapest in the country, according to a report by the AA that claims drivers are still being short-changed despite a fall in prices at the pump.
Average petrol prices have gone down from 138.95p a litre in mid October to 135.08p now, with diesel dropping from 143.74p a litre to 141.89p nationally.
But a fall in wholesale petrol prices across Europe should have knocked UK pump prices down by between 10p and 11p a litre, the AA said.
Drivers are also still suffering from a “price postcode lottery” where motorists in one area can be charged as much as 5p a litre more than drivers a few miles away.
In Yorkshire, the average price of petrol was 134.3p per litre and diesel cost 141.0p per litre – both the cheapest in the country, according to the report.
In Sheffield, unleaded can cost as little as 130.9p per litre according to a fuel price comparison website, and in cities such as Hull, York, Leeds and Bradford, prices can be as low as 131.6p per litre.
But fuel costs in rural parts of the county – where people are more reliant on their cars – are significantly higher than the regional and national averages.
In Ryedale, North Yorkshire, the average price of a litre of unleaded is 137.4p while diesel costs 142.9p per litre. The district had most expensive diesel in the country earlier this year according to research by the Countryside Alliance.
Anne McIntosh, MP for Thirsk, Malton and Filey, said prices in the area had dropped a little since then but were still among Yorkshire’s highest.
“People are finding it very hard to tank up,” said the Tory MP.
“Ryedale isn’t the most affluent area – there are some people there who are very well off but there are many who aren’t, and in terms of your weekly household bill, filling your car is very expensive.
“We’re just hoping it won’t tip people into poverty.”
Miss McIntosh is calling for a fuel duty discount for her constituents and other residents of rural Yorkshire – which the Yorkshire Post’s Give Us a Fair Deal campaign is also demanding.
Prime Minister David Cameron said in July work was “under way” for rural Yorkshire to be made another pilot area for the 5p-a-litre fuel discount scheme enjoyed by motorists in the Scottish islands and the Isles of Scilly.
Any such scheme would also need to be approved by the EU.
The report published by the AA today reveals the most expensive region for fuel is the South East, where petrol now costs on average 135.7p per litre. Northern Ireland has the most expensive diesel, at 142.6p per litre.
Motorists were dealt a blow earlier this week when Labour’s bid to have the planned January 3p-a-litre fuel duty rise deferred was defeated.
But there is speculation that Chancellor George Osborne will announce a postponement of the rise in his autumn statement next month.
AA president Edmund King said yesterday: “Recent political focus has been on the January fuel duty increase, either ignoring or unaware that duty’s ugly sister, unrestrained wholesale prices, has been running rampant in the fuel market.”