The pre-budget report said that the decision is a response to volatility in the oil market. It added that no differential rate for sulphur-free fuel will be introduced until the market allows, but the government's policy to raise road fuel duties in line with inflation remains the same.
Transport 2000 director Stephen Joseph commented: "The increase would have been minimal but it sends a crucial message to motorists - carry on driving as much as you like and never mind the consequences." He added that road traffic is responsible for a fifth of climate change emissions.
Pre-Budget Report 2004 can be viewed via www.PlanningResource.co.uk.