Fuel tax cut in UK among lowest in Europe, RAC says

petrol & diesel reductions

The UK has given some of the least generous support to help drivers with high fuel costs among countries in Europe that have taken action, the RAC has said.

The motoring group said that out of 13 European nations that have cut tax on petrol, only Luxembourg has done less.

The UK cut fuel duty by 5p a litre in March, but the RAC says this looks “paltry” when compared to elsewhere.

The government says the duty cut will save the average driver £100 a year.

UK petrol prices have hit record highs this year, although they have started to fall back in recent weeks.

Fuel prices have increased sharply because the price for crude oil, which is used to make petrol and diesel, has gone up. Oil prices jumped following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, but they had already been rising as demand rose following the lifting of Covid restrictions.

In the Spring Statement in March, the government announced a 5p-a-litre cut in fuel duty to help motorists, but the RAC said the UK was “languishing near the bottom of the table of the 13 countries that have actually done something to help with the price of fuel”.

It said Germany had taken the equivalent of 25p a litre in tax off per litre of petrol, Italy 21p, Portugal 16p, and both Ireland and the Netherlands had cut duty by nearly 15p.

Other governments have introduced fuel discounts that take effect when motorists are paying at forecourt tills, with Spain cutting prices by about 17p a litre and France 15p.

The RAC said that of 15 European Union countries that have not taken action to cut fuel prices since March, all but six already charged less fuel duty than the UK, even after the 5p-a-litre cut.

While petrol prices have begun to fall in recent weeks as wholesale costs decline, the RAC says UK’s average price of 186p a litre makes it the joint second most expensive country behind Finland (190p) and level with Denmark (186p).

“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,” said RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams.