A new wave of protests over the rising price of fuel in the UK could have a negative impact on the residual values of many used cars, according to Glass’s.

Fuel protests in the summer of 2000 caused an immediate additional drop of around 5 per cent in the trade-in value of larger petrol-powered used cars, and Glass’s is predicting similar falls if fresh protests commence in 2004.

Protests would also influence the types of vehicles we drive. “We are already witnessing a marked rise in the popularity of diesel cars, and their share of the total UK new car market is only likely to rise further still as discontent about fuel prices intensifies,” says Jeff Paterson, Senior Car Editor at Glass’s.

He continued: “The growing popularity of new and used diesel cars will be particularly noticeable in the large saloon and SUV sectors where petrol consumption levels are at their highest.”

Oil prices have already risen by around 25 per cent since the end of 2003, and the Government have already confirmed there will be a 1.92 pence increase in fuel duty in force from the start of September. The price of unleaded petrol now averages more than 82 pence per litre and could soon reach 83.5 pence per litre – the level that prompted hauliers and farmers to start blockading fuel depots four years ago.