Posted: Wed 29th May 2024

UK has most expensive diesel in Europe, says RAC

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

New data from the RAC indicates that the UK now has the highest diesel prices in Europe, despite a 5p-a-litre fuel duty discount introduced in March 2022.

The average price of diesel at UK pumps stands at 155p per litre, surpassing both Ireland and Belgium, where diesel costs 150p per litre.

The UK reduced duty on petrol and diesel from 57.95p to 52.95p in spring 2022 to mitigate soaring fuel prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Nevertheless, the UK and Italy share the highest duty rate on diesel in Europe.

However, diesel in Italy remains cheaper than in the UK, averaging 148p per litre.

France, with a duty rate of 52p per litre, sees an average diesel price of 146p, while Belgium, with a duty rate of 51p, offers diesel at 150p per litre.

Despite having the same VAT rate as the UK at 20%, France manages to maintain lower diesel prices.

Italy and Belgium have higher VAT rates at 22% and 21% respectively but still offer cheaper diesel than the UK.

Ireland, with a duty of 47p and VAT at 23%, also charges less for diesel at 150p per litre.

By comparison, the UK’s petrol is only the 11th most expensive in Europe at 149p per litre, with the highest petrol prices found in Denmark at 175p per litre.

Denmark’s duty is significantly higher at 59p per litre, with VAT at 25%.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams commented on the issue:

“Having the most expensive diesel in Europe despite the current 5p duty cut is a very dubious honour.

“This is explained by RAC Fuel Watch calculations which show the average retailer margin on diesel – that’s the difference between the delivered wholesale price and the retail price before VAT – is 18p. That’s a shocking 10p more than the long-term average of 8p.

“Despite the RAC bringing the issue to the attention of Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho in a letter just over a week ago, the price of diesel at the pump has barely fallen, even though the wholesale prices of petrol and diesel are identical at just 111p a litre. The average price of a litre of diesel should really be down to around the 145p level if retailers were charging fairer prices. The margin on petrol is also, in our view, unreasonably high at 13p.

“We can see no good reason why retailers in Great Britain aren’t cutting their prices at the pumps. It’s important to note that in Northern Ireland, where there is greater competition for fuels in the absence of supermarket dominance, the average price of diesel is just 144.9p – 10p less than the UK average, and petrol is 6p cheaper at 142.4p.

“There is cause for hope for fairer fuel prices in the future as the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Act became law on Friday, giving new powers to the Competition and Markets Authority to closely monitor road fuel prices and report any sign of malpractice to the Government.”

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