By Liam Lawrence and Louisa Michel
Petrol prices are on the rise once again, forcing motorists to pay more than £1.50 a litre which makes it more expensive to drive a car than ever before.
Since the start of the year the cost of filling a 70-litre tank has risen by £4.37, an enormous increase for the first two months of 2013.
Given that Brighton’s close proximity to the capital and a large percentage of the city’s population commuting for work, their choice of travel directly reflects how the rise in fuel costs affects people on a day-to-day basis.
A member of Network Rail said there had been a big increase in people using the train service this year, with an average number of 2000-3000 passengers passing through Brighton Station each day.
He believes the rise in petrol prices has greatly influenced people’s decisions regarding the use of public transport, mentioning how enquiries about season tickets have risen dramatically.
Customers have told him that companies are now more willing to pay for employees train fares than driving expenses. One Sussex mum based in Lambs Green told Brighton Lite: “I can’t afford to drive my car anymore”.
Last year her petrol bill was £50 per week.
That figure has now rocketed to £75. She was keen to explain she now only uses her car when it’s absolutely necessary – for the 10 minute school run, and for getting to and from work in Brighton.
She also pointed out that she has reduced her shopping trips into town to one day a week.
A local taxi driver put the fuel rise into perspective. He earns £1 per mile, but now has to shell out nearly £1.50 per litre of petrol. “Last year it cost my customers £3.20 to get from the station to the Palace Pier, but this year it’s £5.”
It’s a huge increase, and one which he says has massively effected his livelihood. He confessed he and his family leave the car at home on the weekends, preferring instead to utilize the city’s public transport.
Chancellor George Osborne is now being urged by lobbyists to remove a duty rise of 3p for September, arguing that it will force more drivers off the road.
Edmund King, President of the AA, said: “Milking this cash cow has turned into flogging a dead horse … When the government considers where it’s going to get new revenue for the next financial year, it shouldn’t knock on driver’s windows and demand more fuel duty – they have nothing left to give.”