'Drivers of diesel vehicles were last night warned to brace themselves for a rise in fuel duty in tomorrow's Budget.
The Petrol Retailers Association said it had been told Chancellor Philip Hammond will increase duty on diesel by 1p a litre – the first rise for more than seven years.
The PRA, which represents 70 per cent of forecourt operators, said petrol duty would be cut by a similar amount in a bid to encourage motorists to move away from diesel cars, which are blamed for air pollution.
The move would raise an additional £800million a year for the Treasury because of the widespread use of diesel by the haulage industry.
The Chancellor is also said to be considering measures to raise the cost of buying new diesel cars – either through a higher rate of VAT or through a specific new levy.
It comes after drivers were for years encouraged by Tony Blair's government to buy diesel cars. Labour used generous tax breaks to persuade millions to switch to diesel.
At the time, scientists said they were better for the environment because they generated less carbon dioxide than petrol vehicles.'
Read more: Drivers face fuel tax hike on diesels they were told to buy: Duty set to be increased in the Budget while petrol is cut in bid to encourage motorists away from dirtier vehicles
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