Motorists in the UK can breathe a sigh of relief today as Chancellor George Osborne scrapped the 3p-a-litre fuel duty increase planned for January 2013.

The planned hike would have meant drivers filling an average tank would have had to fork out almost £2 more for petrol or diesel.
But Mr Osborne said he was not merely postponing the 3p rise until April 2013 but axeing it altogether. The move will help families and businesses across the country.

The decision was welcomed by AA president Edmund King. He said: "This decision avoids a new year's headache and a long hangover for all drivers and is very much welcomed by the AA.

"The Treasury may have thought that a fuel duty increase in the winter, when petrol is usually cheaper, would have been easier. But, toasting the new year with Champagne at a lower duty rate than road fuel underlines successive governments' failure to spot the difference between a luxury and a necessity.

"In 20 years, UK motoring has cut its fuel consumption by 20 per cent (12.8 billion litres), but contributes 144 per cent more (£15.81 billion) in fuel duty tax.

"In the last financial year, the Treasury collected its second highest-ever haul of fuel duty from UK drivers - a whopping £26.8 billion. That is two and a half times more than what is spent on UK roads (£9.8 billion), even before receipts from Vehicle Excise Duty, VAT, company car tax and new car tax are added."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement during his Autumn statement address in the House of Commons today was met by cheers from other MPs, which will be shared amongst hard-press motorists during and after the festive period.