RAC Cars News


British motorists being overcharged for diesel?

By raccars Published

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The annual Post Office Travel Money survey has revealed that British motorists are paying up to 43p per litre more than European drivers for their diesel and 29p more than our neighbours in France. It is claimed that garages are failing to pass on cuts in the wholesale price of diesel. Prices on many forecourts, including those of the big supermarkets, have yet to fully reflect decreases in the wholesale price of diesel, of around 6p per litre. According to the Post Office study, exchange-rate differences were not to blame and the inflated British diesel prices 'do smack of a rip-off'.

Supermarkets are moving to cut diesel prices in response to the report and additional criticism from motoring organisations, like the RAC. Britain was the third most expensive country in which to buy diesel out of 22 European countries surveyed in the Post Office report. The average UK price was £1.37 per litre, with the cheapest price of 94p per litre being recorded in Andorra. Luxembourg was in second place at 99p, with France fourth at £1.08 and Spain sixth at £1.11. The price differences for petrol are less pronounced. The UK comes in 12th place out of the 22 countries surveyed, with an average price of £1.31, in comparison with the cheapest price of £1.11 in Andorra. The price in France is £1.26. The difference in price between diesel and petrol varies dramatically across Europe. In the UK, diesel is 6p per litre more than petrol, whereas it can be 27p per litre cheaper in some European countries.

Simon Williams, fuel spokesman at the RAC, claimed that British garages were dragging their feet on price reductions and their slow actions looked like profiteering. He said: "Transparent, fair fuel pricing is vital for the economy and to maintain the trust of motorists. While two thirds of Britain's 29 million cars run on petrol, we use twice as much diesel, around 26 billion litres a year."

There is better news for UK motorists planning a driving holiday on the continent, however. As we approach the peak summer months, the pound is strong against the Euro and when this is combined with cheaper European fuel prices, it means a bonus for touring Brits. The Post Office report confirms the boost, saying: "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."

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