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Fuel price protests hit the UK’s motorway network

Protesters shut down parts of the UK’s motorway network on Monday in a show of high fuel prices.

Police warned drivers that a “slow-moving rolling roadblock” was causing delays on parts of the M4 motorway near the border between England and Wales and on the M5 near Bristol.

Police said there were “significant delays” in both directions on the Prince of Wales Bridge, which connects England to South Wales.

Protesters warned motorists to expect delays and reconsider their journeys when driving between 25mph and 30mph.

Elsewhere, similar demonstrations and delays were reported on the M180 in Lincolnshire, while West Yorkshire Police said it was “negotiating with a small group of fuel price protesters” at the motorway service centre, but reported no disruption during the morning rush hour.

The protests represent an even more visible backlash against rising fuel costs, which are adding to the cost-of-living crisis for many motorists.

The protesters did not appear to be operating under a single campaign group but were organizing discussions and protests on social media.

A Facebook group called “Fuel Price Stand Against Tax” created in March had about 50,000 members as of Monday morning, while an online petition to lower the tax on fuel by at least 30 percent had received 140,000 signatures.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak cut fuel duty by 5 paise a liter in March, but that has had little impact as oil prices have risen.

A UK competition watchdog has launched an investigation into competition in the retail fuel market following government concerns about whether fuel duty cuts are being passed on to drivers.

Fuel prices are hitting new records on a daily basis and the average cost of filling up a family car with petrol topped £100 for the first time last month, up from £71 the previous year, the RAC said.

The average price of a liter of diesel was just under £2 on Monday morning, while a liter of unleaded petrol was £1.91, according to the motoring group.

Wholesale prices, which take into account the cost of raw materials and taxes but not retail costs such as distribution, have risen by roughly 50 percent this year.

Monday’s protests were the latest disruption to hit roads in the UK over the past year, after climate change protesters repeatedly stopped traffic on busy motorways, leading the government to bring in new laws against what it calls “guerrilla protests”.

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