The director of the Royal Automobile Club Foundation has expressed the view that petrol "shouldn’t be priced as a luxury".
Addressing a conference on transport and social exclusion in Birmingham, Stephen Glaister pointed out that all income groups depend on roads for over 92 per cent of their travel.
Mr Glaister said: "People travel more as they get wealthier, but cars are now the most important form of transport for each and every income group."
The expert believes that this is because public transport is often expensive and time-consuming and a fall in the price of new and used cars has made them more attractive to lower-income households.
He reminded his audience that low-income individuals rely on the car to access health centres and hospitals, shops, schools and work.
"Fuel prices are becoming much more important in social policy," he said.
"It is important that overall motoring policy and tax rates are set with this in mind."
There has been much recent speculation that Opec is set to reduce oil prices further, something which could result in lower petrol prices.
Written by Evie Christie