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Unleaded petrol prices in the UK have hit a new high, at 140.2p a litre (Reuters) Reuters

The cost of a litre of unleaded petrol in the UK has hit a new record, according to research by Experian Catalist, as oil prices soar ever higher.

Motorists and businesses across the country are having their finances hit hard by the constant rise in their vehicle fuel bills and there is a scheduled 3p rise in fuel duty this summer.

It is now 140.2p for a litre of unleaded petrol in the UK.

"A figure of £1.40 a litre is a massive price for people to have to pay and there is no end in sight to rising prices," David Bizley, RAC technical director, said.

"The way things are going the planned duty rise will see average petrol prices hit the £1.50-a-litre mark - forcing more and more people who need their cars off the road."

Chancellor George Osborne was under pressure from the motoring industry and some economists to cut fuel duty in his 2012 Budget, but he did not budge on the Treasury's plans to increase fuel duty in August and it will go ahead.

This comes after the chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, warned that the world faces an oil price crisis.

Rising prices are fuelled by increasing tensions in the Middle East and the surge in demand from fast-growing emerging economies like China, India, and Brazil.

"Oil prices seem to be holding up and defying economic gravity," Robert Harbron, economist at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, told IBTimes UK in a recent interview.