Bishop's Stortford motorists see prices at pumps soar as Harlow MP Robert Halfon calls on Chancellor to cut fuel duty
Oil companies were accused of highway robbery and an MP has called for a reduction in fuel duty as motorists see the cost of filling up at the pumps around Bishop's Stortford soar on an almost daily basis.
In one instance a resident reported the price of a litre of regular unleaded at Tesco in Bishop's Park increased as she was filling up.
Louise Stubbs posted on the Indie's Facebook page that as she filled her car at 5pm on Monday at a price of £1.59.9 it went up by 5p to £1.64.9.
Bill Holder revealed the price of diesel at Tesco went up from £1.65.9 a litre at 5.15pm on Monday to £1.74.9 within eight minutes. A trawl of fuel stops in the town by the Indie revealed diesel at Tesco had gone up a further 1p on Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday morning unleaded at Sainsbury's at Thorley Park was £1.66.9 – 2p more than at Tesco – while diesel was 1p cheaper than its supermarket rival at £1.74.9.
The most expensive place to fill up was unsurprisingly the Shell station at the Birchanger Green M11/A120 services, which was charging £1.78.9 for regular unleaded and a whopping £1.81.9 for diesel. But just a few hundred yards across the motorway at Esso in Start Hill it was 15p a litre cheaper at £1.63.9 for unleaded – the cheapest in our area – and £1.76.9 for diesel.
As he sat in his cab on a break at the services, lorry driver Darren Croft revealed the cost of filling up his articulated truck had increased from £550 to £700 in the space of a couple of weeks.
The most expensive fill-up in the town was at Shell in Stansted Road, which was charging £1.68.9 for unleaded and £1.79.9 for diesel, while the cheapest for unleaded was Tesco.
Driving instructor Terry Wright was on a break with a learner at the Stansted Road Shell and said the price hike cost him an extra £6 a day. Terry, who works for Kam Man driving school, added that although the cost of fuel meant he was effectively doing one lesson a week for free, he did not want to pass on the cost to his clients.
Harlow MP Robert Halfon said forecourt prices could "arguably be described as examples of highway robbery worthy of Dick Turpin". And as prices were fast becoming unaffordable for motorists – especially those who depend on their cars – he called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak either to reduce the set level of duty of 57.95p on a litre of unleaded and diesel or cut VAT.
The price of fuel at the pumps is governed by the price of crude oil, and the war in Ukraine is impacting on supply.
In February the cost of a litre of unleaded had risen to £1.48.02 with an AA spokesman warning it was "tightening the vice on family spending".
The Indie contacted Hertford and Stortford MP Julie Marson for comment but she has not responded.