FUEL price rises in the region have the been the steepest in Britain in the past year, new research suggests.

According to Confused.com, the South East is now the most expensive region in mainland Britain for fuel with prices increasing by up to 16.4p – some 14 per cent – in a year.

The average price of petrol is now 132.4p per litre – up 13.9p - while diesel is 137.3p – up 16.4p.

That beats even London prices and is thought to be topped only by the Isle of Man as the most expensive region in Britain.

And there has been reports that the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, could scrap duty freezes on fuel when he delivers his budget on Monday.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “Fuel prices have accelerated across the UK, although it’s clear the South East have been hit the hardest over the past year.

“Prices of fuel across the UK are the highest on record, according to our fuel price index, and this is really hitting drivers hard. Some are spending more on their fuel per month than they do on days out with their loved ones.”

The organisation added that fuel poverty was now a real issue across the country, with some lower-paid workers spending around 13 per cent of their income on fuel each year.