British motorists paid a staggering £26.5m into government coffers last year, £22m of which was fuel duty. The petrol/diesel split was 58:42 in favour of petrol, and the other £4.5m came the government’s way courtesy of car tax.

The figures were revealed in the Department for Transport’s annual Transport Statistics document, which also revealed that, for the second year in a row, there was not a single metre of new motorway laid in 2003.

The statistics also showed that 57 per cent of car drivers exceed the 70mph motorway limit.

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