The £100 petrol tank is now “inevitable”, the RAC has warned motorsists, as Rishi Sunak prepares to cut fuel duty in the Spring Statement.
Average fuel prices have reached new record highs with petrol topping 167p a litre and diesel poised to exceed 180p for the first time, the RAC said.
“The cost of filling an average 55-litre family car with petrol is now more than £92 and nearly £99 for diesel, making the £100 tank inevitable,” it added.
Its warning comes as the Treasury is said to be mulling a 5p a litre reduction in fuel duty as prices at the pump soar.
Fuel duty has been frozen for more than a decade at 57.95p a litre, but the cut would cost the Chancellor about £2.5bn.
Mr Sunak is facing mounting pressure to help shield households from the fastest rise in living costs for 30 years.
The RAC said that the effect of record fuel prices meant cash-strapped drivers are being forced to cut other spending or are deliberately reducing the number of leisure journeys.
Nicholas Lyes of the RAC said: “As the cost-of-living crisis really starts to bite, there is now enormous pressure on the Chancellor to act today to help drivers – the majority of whom we know depend on their vehicles day in, day out.
“Despite rumours of a cut to fuel duty now in wide circulation, our analysis shows that in many ways a cut in VAT would benefit drivers more – and be fairer on those who run diesel vehicles and are paying a significant premium for the fuel right now, with the cost of filling a family-sized car almost at the £100 mark for the first time.”
Calculations by the RAC show that a 5p cut in fuel duty would reduce the cost of filling a 55-litre car by about £3.
However, a 5pc cut to VAT would take almost £4 off the cost of filling a petrol car and more than £4 off a diesel vehicle.
Simon Williams, the motoring body’s fuel spokesman, said: “A VAT cut would be a far more flexible and powerful way of easing the pain for drivers.”