by Alan Smith
The owner of a haulage firm has warned of a second wave of price hikes at the fuel pumps this year.
Peter Carroll, who is the part-owner of Astran Cargo Services in Larkfield, says a planned tax rise in April will raise prices by 3p per litre.
Mr Carroll - who worked with actress Joanna Lumley to successfully fight to give Gurkhas the right to live in the UK - is now launching a campaign to protect motorists and businesses.
The former Lib Dem candidate for Maidstone and the Weald wants the government to defer the tax rise.
Mr Carroll, whose firm specialises in shipping goods to the Middle East, said: "There are three things this government needs to do. First, it must defer its next planned tax rise scheduled for April, when it intends to push prices up another 3p a litre.
“Secondly, it must introduce some kind of stabilizer mechanism to protect motorists from price fluctuations in the oil industry.
“Thirdly, it must introduce some scheme for essential users, such as road hauliers, so that the price they pay is equated with that paid by their competitors from Europe.
“At present, UK hauliers are having to pay 25p to 30p more duty per litre than hauliers coming over from the Continent. How can they compete?
“This is about people. Most haulage firms are family businesses with on average just four trucks. They are being crushed by the current prices.”
But he said blockades - similar to the petrol price protests of 2000 - would just "add to the suffering".
He said: "I want a public lobbying campaign to force the government to take notice. I’m looking for hundreds of thousands of people to sign up to our campaign at www.fairfueluk.com and sign our petition."
Mr Carroll has already written to the CBI, the Federation of Small Business, the FTA and the Road Haulage Association to get them on side.