Families pay a high price to join the Easter getaway as garages 'cash in' on fuel panic fiasco
- Petrol at a record 141.79p a litre and diesel at 147.71p
By RAY MASSEY
'Outrageous': The Eco Garage on Holland Road, West London was selling diesel at 177.9p a litre
Millions of Britons will begin their Easter getaway tomorrow under the shadow of the fuel panic fiasco.
Drivers will face congestion, roadworks and record prices to fill up their tanks.
Petrol is at a record 141.79p a litre and diesel at 147.71p – although many garages are charging much higher prices.
Chelsea Cloisters Services in Knightsbridge, West London, was yesterday charging an incredible 174.9p a litre for petrol, while the ECO filling station in Kensington’s Holland Road was selling diesel at 177.9p a litre.
AA president Edmund King said: ‘These prices are absolutely outrageous and beyond the pale. Some garages are clearly cashing in and profiteering from the panic at the previous pumps.’
AA patrolman Keith Miller said: ‘After a chaotic week, fuel supplies to forecourts are returning to near-normal levels, so drivers should have no concerns about heading off for Easter. People should just refuel as normal, keeping at least a quarter of a tank in their car in case of traffic delays or if they’re travelling in an unfamiliar area.’
The Highways Agency said tomorrow night – Maundy Thursday – and Easter Monday afternoon were likely to be the busiest over the Bank Holiday weekend, especially on the main holiday routes, as people set out and return from short breaks or day trips.
Drivers and rail passengers also face delays and disruption from roadworks and engineering works, though both highways and rail bosses say this will be less than usual as repair work has been lifted.
Several major rail routes will have restricted services, with engineering works taking place at London Liverpool Street and the main West Coast mainline shut at various times between Crewe, Liverpool or Preston and further north between Carlisle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
'Beyond the pale': Edmund King, the president of the AA, accused garages of profiteering from the fuel panic
But train bosses say there will be fewer instances of buses replacing trains on the rail network this Easter compared with last Easter.
On the roads, roadworks, lane restrictions and temporary speed limits will remain in place on 22 busy routes, including stretches of the M1 and M25.
But the Highways Agency said it had completed or suspended 90 per cent of roadworks on England’s motorways and major A-roads. Sites where roadworks will remain ‘for safety reasons’ include 22 miles of the M1 near Luton in Bedfordshire, an 11-mile stretch of the M25 near St Albans in Hertfordshire, 11 miles of the M4 near west London and 23 miles of the M62 near Leeds.
Traffic information company INRIX said motorists heading for the West Country were likely to face the worst delays. In one piece of good news for travellers, planned strikes by ground staff at Stansted Airport over Easter were called off after peace talks.
But UK passengers yesterday suffered delays and cancellations from the knock-on effect of a strike by French air traffic controllers which continues today. Three flights from Heathrow to Toulouse, one to Madrid and another to Barcelona were cancelled yesterday.