Prices at the pumps hit two-year high

Petrol pump

Refuelling your car now costs £8 more than it did a year ago, according to the AA.

Research shows that fuel is 15p a litre higher than it was 12 months ago, making it the most expensive it's been since December 2014.

Last weekend, petrol cost an average of 117.9p a litre compared with 102.7p this time last year, while diesel rose to 120.4p a litre compared with 105.99p.

Luke Bosdet of the AA said: "Drivers have had a bad start to 2017, seeing 1p, 2p and even 3p ticking up on the fuel price boards over the Christmas and new year holiday period. All in all, with the cold weather, it's been a pretty miserable return to work."

The recent rise is being blamed on a number of factors, with crude oil prices jumping by 20 per cent since a deal between Opec and non-Opec members to limit oil production was struck in November. Brent crude was trading at $57.70 (£46.70) yesterday, more than 50 per cent higher than 12 months ago.

Brexit has also had an effect on the cost of oil, with the weak sterling pushing prices up.

However, because petrol prices dropped for much of 2016, it is estimated that petrol car owners saved about £1 per tank compared with 2015, while diesel van drivers saved nearly £4 over the same period.

Figures released by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy show that petrol sales fell 1.2 per cent between January and September, with diesel consumption rising 4.4 per cent.