The average price of petrol at the pumps has risen 4.49 pence a litre, with the cost now 112.55p a litre.

Edmund King, president of the AA said: “The price rises in recent days were of a magnitude exceeded only in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when the price of petrol rose almost 3.5p in a week.”

The picture shows diesel at 126.9p a litre and was snapped today in south west London. The same forecourt was showing 109.9p at the end of January; that's a rise of 15.5 per cent in four months.