Fuel tax cut for UK drivers among lowest in Europe – RAC

The 5p per litre fuel duty cut implemented by the UK in March is dwarfed by tax reductions enjoyed by drivers in other countries.

31 July 2022

The UK languishes near the bottom of a ranking of European countries for action taken to ease the burden of high fuel prices.

Only Luxembourg has done less than the UK Government out of 13 European nations that have cut petrol taxes since prices began to soar in March, according to the RAC.

The 5p per litre reduction implemented by the UK in March is dwarfed by fuel tax cuts enjoyed by drivers in countries such as Germany (25.1p per litre), Italy (21.2p per litre), Portugal (16.2p per litre), the Netherlands (14.7p per litre) and Ireland (14.5p per litre).

Governments in France and Spain have introduced discounts at forecourt tills worth around 15p per litre and 17p per litre respectively.

Some fuel retailers, including TotalEnergies in France and BP Spain, have price reductions worth up to about 33p per litre.

Of the 15 European Union states that have not taken steps to lower pump prices since March, all but six already charge less fuel duty than the UK.

UK petrol prices finally started falling in recent days after pressure on retailers to reflect a drop in wholesale costs which began seven weeks ago.

But the UK still has a higher average petrol price of 186p per litre than all European Union members except Finland (190p) and Denmark (also 186p).

Drivers in France pay around 23p per litre less than those in the UK.

It is a similar picture for diesel, with only Croatia introducing a smaller fuel tax cut than the UK, and only one European Union member, Sweden, having a more expensive average price.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “This analysis lays bare an uncomfortable truth for the UK Government – that compared to other European countries, it’s pretty much done the least to support drivers through the current period of record high fuel prices.

“The result is the UK being one of the most expensive places to fill up and putting it above other countries that have historically charged more for fuel than UK retailers do, including France and the Netherlands.

“The cost-of-living crisis shows no signs of coming to an end anytime soon and it’s frustrating that repeated calls to the UK Government for more support are falling on deaf ears.

“UK pump prices might be finally starting to fall, but the reductions so far are too little and too late, given the massive wholesale price drops retailers have been benefiting from for nearly two months.

“Drivers, many of whom depend heavily on their vehicles, need more help and they need it now.”

Fuel prices were already rising before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, but the impact of the war has exacerbated the situation.

A reduction in the use of Russian oil has increased demand from other producers, resulting in higher prices.

Protests have been held in the UK, with convoys of vehicles driving slowly on motorways.

Here is a ranking of European Union countries and the UK based on petrol tax cuts per litre since March, according to the RAC:

1. Germany
Reduction in petrol tax: 25.1p per litre
Average pump price: 154p per litre

2. Italy
Reduction in petrol tax: 21.2p per litre
Average pump price: 164p per litre

3. Portugal
Reduction in petrol tax: 16.2p per litre
Average pump price: 161p per litre

4. The Netherlands
Reduction in petrol tax: 14.7p per litre
Average pump price: 182p per litre

5. Ireland
Reduction in petrol tax: 14.5p per litre
Average pump price: 171p per litre

6. Sweden
Reduction in petrol tax: 13.0p per litre
Average pump price: 168p per litre

7. Belgium
Reduction in petrol tax: 12.3p per litre
Average pump price: 159p per litre

8. Croatia
Reduction in petrol tax: 9.0p per litre
Average pump price: 151p per litre

9. Cyprus
Reduction in petrol tax: 5.9p per litre
Average pump price: 152p per litre

10. Hungary
Reduction in petrol tax: 5.3p per litre
Average pump price: 106p per litre

11. Czech Republic
Reduction in petrol tax: 5.2p per litre
Average pump price: 160p per litre

12. United Kingdom
Reduction in petrol tax: 5.0p per litre
Average pump price: 186p per litre

13. Luxembourg
Reduction in petrol tax: 4.5p per litre
Average pump price: 145p per litre

The following European Union members have not cut petrol taxes since March (ranked in order of their highest average pump price):

Average pump price: 190p per litre

Average pump price: 186p per litre

Average pump price: 185p per litre

Average pump price: 169p per litre

Average pump price: 166p per litre

Average pump price: 163p per litre

Average pump price: 161p per litre

Average pump price: 158p per litre

Average pump price: 155p per litre

Average pump price: 149p per litre

Average pump price: 147p per litre

Average pump price: 145p per litre

Average pump price: 144p per litre

Average pump price: 131p per litre

Average pump price: 114p per litre

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