FUEL prices are at a three-and-a-half year high, with young people being the worst affected, a survey suggests.

The cost of petrol and diesel is at the highest level since November 2014. Government data for Monday showed that petrol cost an average of £1.23 per litre at UK forecourts, while diesel was £1.27 per litre.

In Dorset both diesel and unleaded prices can differ by more than a couple of pence per litre.

Currently, Tesco Extra in Bournemouth is offering one of the cheapest prices for petrol at 120.9p per litre, while Tesco in Branksome and BP in Wallisdown are charging 123.9p per litre for petrol. This means it is £1.50 cheaper to fill an average car with 50 litres at Tesco Extra in Bournemouth.

The cheapest place for diesel is Asda, Canford Heath at 123.7p per litre, while the majority of garages are charging 125.9p per litre.

Among drivers aged 18-24, some 11 per cent are cutting back on car use, 23 per cent are reducing spending in other areas and a further 21 per cent are doing both to stay on the road, according to an AA poll.

More than three out of five (61%) motorists in this age category drive at least 10 miles each way to get to work, the motoring firm said.

Other groups who are driving less, not spending as much elsewhere, or both, include semi and unskilled workers (50%) and skilled workers (46%).

AA president Edmund King said: "Once again, we're beginning to see the spectre of some drivers having to make a choice between cutting back on household expenditure or being able to afford to drive to work.

"With rising mortgage costs and higher pension contributions, more and more drivers are being pushed towards that precipice.

"We already know that higher pump prices last year diverted £1 billion more to the pump, away from potential high street spending.

"With the non-fuel retail sector valued at £366 billion last year, that drain from dearer fuel is equivalent to a day's turnover in UK shops."