An extra £1 billion a year could be spent on fixing potholes and other road maintenance if the Government invested two pence per litre of existing fuel duty, the body that represents councils has suggested.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said i nvesting fuel duty back into road maintenance would allow councils to bring the country's crumbling highways up to scratch within a decade.
The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, said that although the Government recently responded to calls for extra funding to repair roads with a multimillion-pound pledge it was "simply not enough", with local authorities only being able to "patch up" problems rather than carry out longer-term preventative work.
It said the damage done to roads by recent harsh winters and decades of underfunding has seen the national backlog of road repairs rise to £12 billion - up £1.5 billion in the past year alone.
Last month the Government announced it had set aside £168 million to mend the nation's broken roads, spread across 148 councils.
The Department for Transport said m ore than three million potholes will be filled in by March next year as part of the biggest investment in roads since the 1970s.
Councillor Peter Box, chairman of the LGA's Economy and Transport Board, said councils were "trapped in an endless cycle of patching up our deteriorating network".
"Our roads are in such disrepair that it will now take more than a decade and £12 billion to bring them up to scratch," he added.
"Tackling this ever-growing national repair bill must be a priority and the Government can do this by injecting an extra £1 billion a year into roads maintenance - funded by investing two pence a litre from existing fuel duty.
"Motorists pay billions to the Treasury each year in fuel duty when they fill up their car at the pumps only to then have to drive on roads that are decaying after decades of underfunding. They deserve roads fit for the 21st century."