The UK languishes near bottom of list of European countries which have acted to ease the burden of high fuel prices, claims new RAC research.
Motorists in the UK are paying as as much as 20p more per litre of petrol than drivers in France, for instance.
Out of 13 EU countries that have cut tax on petrol in order to ease the spiralling costs faced by drivers every time they fill up, only one – Luxembourg – has done less than the UK Government, with a duty cut in April worth the equivalent of 4.52p compared to the 5p duty cut announced at the UK Budget in March.
It’s a similar picture for diesel, with only Croatia doing less for its drivers than the UK, with a cut worth 4.5p.
The UK Government’s intervention back in the Spring looks paltry when compared to most other European nations, with Germany taking the equivalent of 25p a litre in tax off per litre of petrol on 1 June, Italy 21p, Portugal 16p and both Ireland and the Netherlands nearly 15p.
In addition, as an alternative to cutting fuel duty, governments of other countries in the EU have introduced fuel discounts at forecourt tills with Spain taking off 20 cents (about 17p) and France 18 cents (about 15p), while some fuel retailers including TotalEnergies in France and BP Spain have discounts running of up to 40 cents per litre (about 33p).
Of the remaining 15 EU states that haven’t taken steps to lower pump prices since March, all but six already charge less fuel duty than the UK even after the UK cut fuel duty by 5p in March’s Spring Statement, and almost all are cheaper at the pumps.
Although UK pump prices have finally started to fall in recent days – after significant pressure from the RAC on retailers to reflect the fact wholesale fuel costs have been falling for seven straight weeks – the average price of a litre of both petrol and diesel is well above the current EU averages of 159p and 161p respectively.
The UK is currently the joint-second most expensive country when it comes to the average cost of a litre of petrol (186p) – behind only Finland (190p) with Denmark also at 186p – and the second most expensive for diesel at 195p per litre, with only Sweden charging more (201p).