Ministers have been urged to consider cutting VAT on fuel as petrol prices hit a nine-year high.
The RAC said the average price of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts has reached 140.22p.
That is the highest level since September 2012, and is only 2p off the record high that occurred in April of the same year.
We haven't seen the petrol price at this sort of level since September 2012
Simon Williams, RAC
Prices have now gone up by nearly 26p a litre in just 12 months, driven by a doubling in the cost of a barrel of oil to 83 US dollars.
The RAC said the rising cost of oil means drivers are now paying 4p per litre more in VAT than a year ago.
September’s switch to E10 petrol – which increased the biofuel content – added around 1p per litre to average prices.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Our data shows we haven’t seen the petrol price at this sort of level since September 2012, and we’re now worryingly close to the all-time average UK price high of 142.48p that was hit in the same year.
“At a time when households and businesses are facing spiralling prices in other areas, this is a huge concern.”
Mr Williams urged ministers to consider reducing VAT on fuel.
He said: “We call on the Government to take action and do whatever it can to help ease the burden on drivers.
“While the cost of oil has more than doubled in a year, the price drivers pay at the forecourt is compounded by the fact there is nearly 58p in fuel duty charged on every litre.
“And, on top of the delivery cost and the retailer’s margin, you’ve then got VAT which currently accounts for 23p a litre.”
He added: “It might be most effective for the Government to consider temporarily cutting the level of VAT on motor fuel to help hard-pressed drivers.”
The RAC does not believe the recent panic buying of fuel contributed to price increases.