New RAC analysis has found that average fuel prices have risen by more than 3p per litre in the last three weeks.

The car insurance company said the average price of a litre of petrol increased by 3.2p from 140.0p on January 29 to 143.3p on Monday.

Diesel prices have also surged by 4.0p per litre over the same period, from 148.0p to 152.0p.

It follows a three-month downward trend in fuel prices up to mid-January.

The pump price hikes have been attributed to a jump in the oil price, which has been trading above 80 US dollars a barrel for most of the last four weeks.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “News that fuel prices have bottomed out and are now on the rise again is bad for drivers, and possibly the economy and future inflation rates too.

“While we’re not expecting prices to shoot up dramatically, it appears that oil is trading up, which in the absence of a stronger pound, wholesale fuel is costing more for retailers to buy in.

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“The result is higher prices at the pump and more expense for the everyday driver.

“The Red Sea attacks by Houthi rebels, which are forcing tankers to avoid the Suez Canal and instead go round South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, are clearly playing their part, but so have global refinery maintenance closures, the start of America’s driving season and UK retailers buying more fuel stocks ahead of the Budget to protect against a possible fuel duty hike by the Chancellor.

“Despite these factors, we ought not to see forecourt prices go up too much more from where they are today, but a lot depends on how much margin the biggest retailers decide to take,” Mr Williams added.