UK: ANGRY motorists are planning mass protests against petrol prices just DAYS before the election.

A huge Facebook campaign is mobilising half a million drivers to boycott pumps in demos which could be devastating for Gordon Brown as Britain goes to the polls.

It comes after a series of unpopular tax hikes in recent months sent petrol soaring to 120.8p a litre this week - up from 94.9p only a YEAR ago - with the Government pocketing 76p for every litre sold.

This means it now costs an extra £300 a year to fill up the average car.

RAC motoring strategist Adrian Tink blasted: "The future's looking bleak with petrol prices set to hit 125p a litre by the summer. Family budgets are being stretched to the limit."

The Facebook protesters, who call for drivers to park outside petrol stations on May 1, hope their timing will pressure the new Government to lower tax.

A further 1p rise in fuel duty is due in the autumn, with another 0.76p hike next January.

Organiser Jo Slater, a Manchester midwife, said: "We need to take action. The only way we'll see petrol prices fall is if we hit someone in the pocket."

Haulage firms in the North- East and activists Farmers For Action are also planning demos.

London's gallons cheaper

By Emma Barrow

LONDON is one of the CHEAPEST areas in the country to buy petrol - with stations flogging fuel at 116.9p per litre.

Only 34 forecourts offer regular unleaded at the lowest price currently available.

And incredibly, 14 per cent of them are in the capital, notorious for its sky- high living costs.

Joint top on the cheapest tank chart is Devon, which also has five stations offering fuel at the lowest price.

The next six forecourts are in Tyne and Wear and Middlesex, which have three each, according to figures released on Friday.


Brendan McLoughlin, boss of pump costs comparison website, said: "The geographical differences in price usually come down to the competitive environment.

"In London it's to do with density and the fact there are a lot of places to buy there."

Sainsbury's has the most appearances on the list of bargain fuel sellers, with four stations included in the 34. Asda, Tesco, and Waitrose have a single entry each.

Petrol giant Shell owns 10 of the stations offering the 116.9p rate.

The UK is currently experiencing record fuel charges, as rocketing wholesale prices and a weak pound drive them up.

Brendan McLoughlin added that there was little chance of a fall in prices in the near future. He said: "Until we pay back our debts our currency might continue to weaken and that means we're going to pay more at the pumps.

"The other long-term thing is the supply of oil. It's not going to last forever, so that's pushing the price up as well."

UK motorists are not alone in experiencing huge rises in petrol prices. A recent AA survey showed that fuel in Germany was the equivalent of 127.31p per litre, in France it was 124p per litre and in Italy it was 121.94p per litre.

Across the Atlantic, US drivers are paying around $2.867 per gallon - around 48p per litre.

What parties would do

LABOUR has no specific policies on petrol prices in its manifesto, but if they stay in power they are likely to raise fuel duty in October by 1p and by 0.76p in January.

THE Tories have proposed temporarily cutting fuel duty by 10p. They also plan a "fair fuel escalator" to make tax fall when prices rise and duty rise when prices fall.

THE Liberal Democrats want a lower rate of fuel duty for people who live in rural areas and are more reliant on their cars because of a lack of public transport.