Motorists were today spared an immediate inflation-rate petrol price rise but will have to fork out more at the pumps from September, Chancellor Gordon Brown's Budget revealed.
As well as deferring the annual fuel duty rise, Mr Brown also announced a freezing of the vehicle excise duty car tax for medium-sized and small, less-polluting vehicles.
The Chancellor also froze company car tax rates and said there would be no increase in the air passenger duty departure tax that travellers pay when they leave UK airports.
Mr Brown said that outgoing British Airways chief executive Rod Eddington would work with the Government in examining Britain's long-term transport needs and priorities.
Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said: "The Chancellor has shown prudence at the pumps. Freezing the level of fuel duty will help the Government to regain the confidence of motorists, but will still leave drivers vulnerable to world petrol price rises."
Bert Morris, director of the AA Motoring Trust, said: "We welcome the Chancellor's decision, which gives UK motorists some respite from currently escalating car fuel prices.
"Family budgets have been under attack from higher petrol prices and, with average petrol prices rising 1.3p per litre in February and March, a further increase on the biggest part of car-owning family expenditure would have reinforced the frustration of motorists.
"We want to see the duty frozen in future budgets so that UK drivers pay no more for their petrol and diesel than motorists in other European countries."