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

Fuel protests in the summer of 2000 caused an immediate drop of around 5% in the trade 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 driven.

“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,” said Glass’s senior car editor Jeff Paterson.

“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% since the end of 2003 and the government is under increasing pressure to axe the 1.92 pence increase in fuel duty due at the beginning of September.

The price of unleaded petrol now averages over 82p a litre and could soon reach 83.5p – the level that prompted hauliers and farmers to start blockading fuel depots four years ago.