Diesel drivers pay more to fill up in Britain than anywhere else in Europe

  • UK’s average diesel price of 155p a litre is the most expensive across Europe
  • This is despite the 5p fuel duty cut introduced by the Government in March 2022
  • RAC blames retailers for doubling margins – see how petrol prices compare 

If you drive a diesel car or van you are paying more to fill up than any other nation across Europe.

The UK now has the most expensive diesel, despite the current 5p-a-litre fuel duty discount introduced in March 2022 and extended for another 12 months in the Spring Budget.

The RAC, which compared our fuel prices with those of our European neighbours, described it as a ‘very dubious honour’, blaming retailers for pocketing exaggerated margins on every litre of diesel.

We reveal below how the UK ranks in terms of petrol price against other European nations. 

UK drivers with diesel-powered cars and vans are paying more to fill up than any other nation in Europe, despite the 5p-a-litre fuel duty cut. The RAC blames retailers for more than doubling margins on diesel to 18p – that’s compared to the long-term pre-pandemic average of just 8p

The average price of diesel at UK pumps is currently 155p a litre.

This makes it 5p more expensive than the next most expensive countries – Ireland and Belgium at 150p – based on the latest European data available and 21p pricier than the European average.

The RAC data excludes Norway and Switzerland thanks difficulties sourcing the information.

Even with taxation on both petrol and diesel cut from 57.95p to 52.95p since spring 2022 – a move introduced by then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak to ease the burden of rapidly rising fuel prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – the UK still has the highest rate of duty on diesel in Europe alongside Italy. 

Yet the average price of a litre of diesel in Italy – where VAT on fuel is 22 per cent – is currently 7p lower than the UK, at an average of 148p.

Diesel drivers in France – which charges the same 20 per cent VAT on fuels as Britain, though the duty rate is around a penny lower than the UK (52p) – are paying around 9p less (146p) than motorists in UK. 

In Belgium, where duty is the equivalent of 2p less than the UK at 51p and VAT is slightly higher at 21 per cent, its diesel is 5p cheaper at 150p.

The analysis by the RAC reveals that diesel motorists are being stung at the pumps far worse than their petrol-using counterparts. 

Comparing our average unleaded price of 149p per litre against the rest of Europe places UK 11th on the list of most expensive nations to fill up.

Staggeringly, Demark has the priciest petrol of all at a whopping average of 175p – though fuel duty in Denmark is far higher than in the UK at an equivalent of 59p, with VAT at 25 per cent.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said Britain’s sting on drivers of diesel-powered vehicles is largely down to retailer margins – the difference between the delivered wholesale price and the retail price before VAT.

It estimates that retailers on average are pocketing around 18p on every litre of diesel sold. 

That’s a shocking 10p more than the long-term average of 8p seen before the pandemic.

‘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,’ Wiliams said. 

‘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 Britain aren’t cutting their prices at the pumps.’

Despite the dire news for diesel drivers, there is some cause for hope in the future.

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. 

source: dailymail.co.uk