The stubbornly high price of diesel is representing a “huge, unavoidable business cost” for hauliers and couriers, which the push for alternatively-fuelled vehicles won’t solve in the short term, according to a new report.

Latest data from the Transport Exchange Group (TEG) Road Transport Price Index showed that the cost of diesel is not dropping at the same rate as petrol.

In January 2021, diesel cost around 4ppl more than petrol. Now, a litre of diesel costs 22p more than a litre of petrol

TEG said if the fuel duty freeze is not renewed next month, fuel prices could rise by another 23%. It added that with China reopening its economy to the world following strict Covid-19 lockdowns, fuel demand and prices are predicted to increase even further.

The TEG data also showed that both the courier and haulage price-per-mile fell by 9% in January following an all-time high in December.

It said this trend had been seen every January for the last few years, with peak prices in December and then settling down in the New Year.

Lyall Cresswell, TEG CEO, said: “Having closely tracked haulage and courier prices for the past four years, we’ve come to expect the trend of prices dropping in January, following peak demand in the run-up to Christmas.

“A new factor for price trends, however, is the price of diesel stubbornly refusing to come down in line with petrol prices. For an industry that remains reliant on diesel, this is a significant business cost.

“There’s a real push for alternative fuel vehicles, but that won’t solve the imminent cost issue. In the short term, many road transport businesses might simply have to charge their customers more."