Petrol prices soared by nearly 6p per litre over the half-term school holiday, new figures show.
The AA said the average cost of a litre of the fuel at UK forecourts was a record 177.9p on Sunday, up from 172.1p on Friday May 27.
This means filling a typical 55-litre family car with petrol has become around £3 more expensive.
Diesel prices rose from 182.7p per litre to 185.0p per litre over the same period.
AA fuel price spokesman Luke Bosdet said: “Shock and awe is the only way to describe what has been happening at the pump during the half-term break.
“Little wonder that nearly half of drivers stayed at home for the Jubilee extended bank holiday.
“The forces behind the surge have been oil jumping back above 120 US dollars a barrel for the first time since late March, combined with petrol commodity prices being boosted by summer motoring demand.”
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams described the record fuel prices as “frightening”.
“With oil now above 120 US dollars a barrel and sterling still at 1.2 US dollars, worse is still to come,” he said.
“Sadly, we expect to see the average price of petrol break through the 180p mark this week, with diesel moving further towards 190p.
“More radical government intervention is urgently needed, whether that’s in the form of a further reduction in fuel duty or a VAT cut.
“As it is, drivers surely won’t be able to cope unless something is done to help.
“This is fast becoming a national crisis for the country’s 32 million car drivers as well as countless businesses.”