|Drivers cut short journeys by 165 miles to beat fuel costs|
The average British car driver travelled 165 miles fewer in 2011 than in the previous year because of rising petrol prices.
According to findings by petrol station trade body RMI Petrol and Experian Catalist, total fuel consumption by road transport in the UK declined 3pc in 2011 to 33.5bn litres.
This is the equivalent of 30 litres less for each of Britain's 34m vehicles, enough fuel for a 165-mile journey.
The figures are included in a new letter from the chairman of RMI Petrol to the Chancellor, calling for fuel taxation to be "reconsidered and reformed".
Brian Madderson said fuel duty was a "deeply flawed" tax on consumption that "unfairly penalises" working families, low income earners, rural communities and businesses.
"It must be time for change and new thinking on fuel tax to provide a much-needed boost to our society and to the economy," he said yesterday.
Fuel duty will increase by 4p per litre on August 1, 2012, including VAT, according to Mr Madderson.
In the Autumn Statement, the Government postponed a scheduled 3p rise in fuel duty for January in a bid to help motorists who are struggling with high fuel costs. George Osborne said Coalition policies mean taxes on petrol will be 10p lower in August 2012 than would otherwise have been the case.
This will mean that by the end of 2012, families will have saved £144 on the price of filling up an average–size car, he added.
However, Mr Madderson said the Treasury will still be earning more from petrol than when it came to power in May 2010 because of an increase in the price of oil and VAT from 17.5pc to 20pc.
In the letter, he lists social, fiscal and economic costs which can be "largely attributed" to a rise in fuel pump prices. These include squeezing low-income households, the closure of small and medium-sized businesses and fuel theft.
He says fuel duty is at a "near record high" and that only one country in the European Union has a higher duty level on diesel.
As well as writing to the Chancellor, Mr Madderson is to meet Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, this month to discuss fuel duty.
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