Report reveals that Britain pay among the highest fuel prices in Europe


A shocking new report recently showed that British motorists are being ripped off at the pumps, by paying up to 43p more than other drivers on the Continent for their fuel.

British motorists are having to pay some of the highest pump prices in Europe as even drivers in France pay 29p a litre less for their diesel, compared to the UK.

Garages are ‘profiteering’ by dragging their feet and failing to pass on the benefits of falling wholesale prices of up to 6p a litre for diesel alone, as said by motoring groups.

The Post Office Travel Money annual report into motoring revealed the details earlier this week. The Post Office said even after exchange-rate discrepancies were stripped out, diesel was still cheaper than Britain in 19 of the 22 countries surveyed.

British supermarkets responded to the findings and angry criticism from motoring groups such as the RAC, by cutting up to 2p off the cost of a litre of diesel, although it has been disputed that much more was needed.

Out of 22 European countries, Britain finishes in 20th place surveyed with an average price of £1.37 a litre, compared to just 94p in cheapest Andorra, a 43p a litre price difference. Runner up, Luxembourg, is just 99p, £1.08 in fourth place France and £1.11 in sixth place Spain.

The Post office report says: ‘At £1.37, the UK emerged as one of the most expensive countries for diesel motoring.’

For a family driving 1,000 miles, 500 each way, a driver through France would be £44.26 less than in the UK, with a French bill coming to £163.17 compared to £207.42 in Britain.

The cheapest fill up would be in Andorra with a price difference of £65.56.

Price differences also exist on petrol prices though the gaps are less dramatic with the UK in 12th place out of 22, at £1.31 a litre compared to  £1.04 in cheapest Andorra, £1.11 in runner-up Luxembourg, £1.18 in sixth-place Spain and £1.26 in 10th place France.

The price gap between fuels is also acute. On the Continent diesel is up to 27p a litre cheaper than unleaded petrol while in Britain it costs 6p more than four-star.

The Post office report notes, “Lower prices in European petrol stations mean that UK tourists on Continental motoring holidays can expect their cars to drive more miles for less cash this year. Fuelled by the strong pound, pump prices have fallen in 20 of 22 countries surveyed.”

The report also says that the biggest price falls have been in France, with petrol down by 15% and diesel down to 18%, compared with last year.

Spain’s prices have also decreased with petrol down to 4.8% and diesel down 4.3%. The Post Office report notes: “The biggest fall in the cost of unleaded petrol and diesel fuel has been in France, where the litre price is down 23p for unleaded and 24p for diesel. This year’s price fall means diesel drivers will pay 29p a litre less in France than in the UK.”

It adds: “A combination of cheaper fuel and the strong pound means UK tourists can expect to pay 15 per cent less for unleaded petrol (£1.26) and 18 per cent less for diesel (£1.08) at French pumps.”

“This means that 1,000 miles of motoring through France will cost £45 less than last year in a car using unleaded petrol (£191) and £47 less for diesel drivers (£163). “

Prices are also down this year in two other European destinations popular with UK holiday motorists – Spain and Ireland. In Spain, where four out of ten said they have driven, pump prices are down 6p a litre for unleaded (£1.18) and 5p for diesel fuel (£1.11). A third of motorists said they had driven in Ireland, where a litre of unleaded petrol is 13p now cheaper than last year (£1.28).

Overall, the report noted: “Pump prices have fallen by up to 24p per litre year-on-year in European motoring holiday destinations.”

Austria (£1.14 a litre), Czech Republic (£1.15) and Switzerland (£1.17) also offer comparatively cheap petrol, while Greece (£1.07 a litre), France (£1.08) and Austria (£1.08) are among the best-buy countries for diesel.

But UK motorists looking for the best fuel deals would do well to avoid Norway which has the dearest petrol (£1.65 a litre) and the most-expensive diesel (£1.50).  Other countries where fuel costs are high include Turkey, where petrol is £1.55 a litre, and Holland where it costs £1.51.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Fuel retailers must reduce the price of diesel at the pumps as the wholesale cost is now almost the same as petrol – yet average forecourt prices are still 6p a litre more expensive.”

“Transparent, fair fuel pricing is vital for the economy and to maintain the trust of motorists. While two thirds of Britain’s 29million cars run on petrol we use twice as much diesel, around 26billion litres a year.”

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