Are further rises on the way?

Are further rises on the way?

More price rises are almost certainly around the corner, because oil prices are subject to seasonal variations and traditionally rise in the summer when Europeans travel on holiday.

Furthermore, the current problems of demand outstripping supply are unlikely to go away soon, because only one OPEC nation - Saudi Arabia - isn't operating at maximum capacity to produce as much oil as possible at present.

As a result, OPEC has warned that oil prices could rise by another 50% to more than $200 a barrel before they start to come down again.

The Government has already reacted by announcing that it will increase North Sea oil production and invest in alternative forms of power such as nuclear energy.

However, these solutions are likely to take years to reach fruition, and so won't provide any short-term relief from rising prices.

The only other prospect of a drop in fuel prices is if the Government lowers its tax rates.

However, even with an election looming, this is unlikely, because the Government is already poised to defer a 2p-a-litre tax rise and will not want to lose any more income.

Also, the increasingly potent green lobby hopes that high fuel prices will push motorists towards buying more-efficient, less-polluting cars.

That means there's unlikely to be any respite for Britain's motorists.