Today’s two pence per litre fuel duty rise will push the price of diesel close, if not over, a pound per litre. The rise, announced in then-chancellor Gordon Brown’s April budget, took effect from today, and will be followed by another 2ppl rise next April and 1.84ppl in April 2009.

The average price of a litre of diesel in the UK before the tax rise was 97.0p, with unleaded at 95.3p, according to fuel card provider Arval.

Today’s move reinforced Britain’s position as the country that takes the most duty per litre in Europe at 50.35p, compared with a European average of just 22.7p.