Retailers have predicted petrol prices could rise by as much as 4p a litre in the next few days thanks to increased wholesale costs being passed on to customers.
The rise was forecast by the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), and would add around £2 to the cost of filling a typical family car.
"Independent retailers have been soaking up this increase at the expense of already tight margins because they know how hard the motorist is squeezed," said PRA chairman Brian Madderson.
But he warned: "The floodgates will have to open soon."
The AA has played down the impending rise in costs, predicting that prices will increase by around 2.5p per litre but it has been quick to slam the industry for not passing on any fall in wholesale prices as quickly as it passes on increases.
The Office of Fair Trading will decide next week whether to launch an investigation into the fuel market.
AA president Edmund King told the Daily Telegraph: "Another new year, another new round of pump price rises after the industry failed to pass on fully wholesale price savings.
"The insight we are now getting on wholesale price movements rams home the need for this information to be out in the public domain immediately."
Throughout the whole of 2012, the average price of a litre of petrol rose by 2.75p. Despite a fall in fuel demand across northern Europe, and an apparent glut of petrol capacity, wholesale costs have risen steeply in the four weeks since Christmas.
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