UK fleets are being forced to pay nearly five pence per litre more at the pumps than they did at the start of the year, thanks to a weakening pound and rising wholesale prices, according to the AA. The average price of diesel in the UK is currently 145.10 pence per litre, up 4.78 pence from the middle of January when diesel cost an average of 140.32 pence per litre. Petrol has increased even further, having risen to 138.32 pence per litre from 132.71 pence per litre just a month ago. The AA believes that fleets have recently been caught between "the pincers of a pound weakened against the dollar and soaring wholesale prices", both largely due to stock market speculation. Since the turn of the New Year, the wholesale price of petrol has risen from around $990 a tonne to more than $1,110 a tonne. The sterling cost of a tonne of petrol would have therefore risen from £611 to £685, the equivalent rise of 5.6 pence per litre. Edmund King, president of the AA, said: "This is the third 10ppl (pence per litre) wholesale price surge in 11 months, given extra vigour by currency speculators betting against the pound. "We hope the Chancellor spells out clearly in the forthcoming Budget that he can feel the pressure rocketing fuel price inflation places on business _ and that he will cancel the September rise if that strain is too great. "After all, with high prices comes more VAT, and many drivers would like him to look at where the real damage to fuel consumption and the tax-take is being done." It remains to be seen whether George Osborne will impose cuts to fuel duty or even postpone future increases, particularly while tax receipts are falling, but he has been forced to do so before having shelved plans to increase fuel duty by 3.02 pence per litre back in January.