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Issue Date:- 14 July 2008

Fuel prices to go "even higher" says IAM Trust

DATA released by the IAM Motoring Trust, the policy and research arm of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, has raised the prospect of even higher rises at the petrol pumps by the end of the year.

"If crude oil prices stay at their current level, or rise even higher, Britain's motorists can expect another 20 pence rise in the price of a litre before the end of 2008, bringing closer the prospect of the 150 pence litre," says Tim Shallcross, Head of Technical Policy at the IAM Motoring Trust.

Crude oil prices are more than twice those in July 2007. If these prices are sustained, the cost of fuel at the pump is likely to rise accordingly. A comparison of today's pre-tax prices and those in July 2007 indicates a price of 140p per litre (ppl) for petrol and even higher for diesel.

IAM Trust research shows:-

* At the start of July 2007, unleaded petrol was 97ppl and diesel 97.4ppl. Crude oil was just over $71 a barrel.

* Today, crude oil is trading at around $146 a barrel, more than double the 2007 price.

* Although pump prices have risen steeply, at today's prices of 119.37ppl for petrol and 132.78ppl for diesel, the percentage increase is much less than it has been for crude oil.

* Tax of fuel is split between VAT and a fixed amount of duty, so a comparison of the pre-tax prices is needed to show how much the basic price of the fuel has gone up over the past year and whether we have seen the real impact of the record high crude oil prices.

* The pre-tax price of a litre of petrol in July 2007 was 34.2 pence; for diesel it was 34.5 pence. If these had doubled in 2008 to match crude oil prices, the pre-tax price would be 68.4p for a litre of petrol and 69p for diesel. Applying today's higher duty of 50.35p, and adding VAT, gives a pump price of 139.53p for petrol and 140.24p for diesel. If crude oil prices stabilise at today's levels, or rise even higher, pump prices will inevitably catch up.

The fuel price spreadsheet for end June is available at the IAM Trust website - IAM Trust website.

A Drink Drive endorsement is an 11 year "black mark"!

AS summer warms up and the thirst for an alcoholic drink increases, the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) has reminded drivers of the perils of accidentally drinking and driving.

An 11 year licence endorsement is just one of the many consequences of a drink offence, although this isn't widely known. There is no foolproof way to check your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit before you get behind the wheel, so the IAM's message to motorists is: if you're going to drink, don't drive. And if you are going to drive, don't drink.

Previous surveys have shown a staggering 50% of Britain's 32 million motorists have owned up to driving after drinking alcohol.

"Just 1" is often followed by another, especially if people are buying rounds of drinks. And a generous round-buyer may get you a large wine or a double measure of spirits without you realising. This may be a well-meaning gesture, but it could put you over the limit.

Your ability to drive can be affected by even a modest amount of alcohol, at any time of year. Even if you are actually within the limit, alcohol still affects your judgement.

If you're driving abroad on a summer holiday, alcohol limits vary for each individual country, with some countries even having a zero alcohol limit. But the general rule to be safe no matter where you are driving remains: don't drink and drive.

Why not offer to be the (non-drinking) designated driver? You'll save money and you'll be popular with everyone else you're giving a lift home to.

If you drive at twice the legal limit, you are 30 times more likely crash, and a long sleep or a large cup of coffee after drinking the night before may not be the quick fix you expected to allow you to safely get behind the wheel.

There could be sufficient alcohol in your system to still push you over the legal limit for many hours after you have stopped drinking. So remember to leave at least twelve hours between the "bottle" and the "throttle".

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