THE Government is examining whether to ask the EU to extend a scheme offering discounted fuel in rural areas.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid said the scheme, which gives motorists on the Scottish islands and the Isles of Scilly a five pence per litre discount, could be expanded to include “remote parts of the UK likely to display similar costs characteristic to the islands”.

The move follows Thirsk and Malton MP Anne McIntosh and Ripon and Skipton MP Julian Smith highlighting the high cost of fuel in the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales.

Last year, the Countryside Alliance found that motorists in the North York Moors area of Ryedale are paying 146.9p per litre - 7p more than drivers in Sunderland and Newcastle.

Miss McIntosh said as Hambleton and Ryedale residents had to travel further for petrol due to the area’s remote nature, the prices were having “a crippling effect on many constituents and businesses”.

She said: “I am confident that the most remote areas of my constituency meet the criteria of distance from the pump that motorists have to travel and the price of fuel at the pump.

“I believe that we can meet the qualifying criteria to obtain the approval of the European Commission and EU State Aid rules.”