Gordon Brown was last night coming under pressure to cut fuel duty as crude oil hit a new high of $66 on world markets.
Companies in the West Midlands are being subjected to an increasingly tight cost squeeze as pump prices edge above 90p a litre for unleaded petrol.
Business reaction was summed up by Louise Beard, the chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, who called on the Chancellor to reduce fuel duty in response.
"We pay more duty on fuel than any other European state and so a rise in price means further cash for the Government's coffers," she said.
" The Chamber has applauded Gordon Brown in the past 12 to 18 months for not increasing that duty but if there is a not a fall in the global price soon, he may have to do even more to ensure we can stay competitive."
US light sweet crude hit $66 a barrel before falling back to $65.90 - a rise of $1 over Wednesday.