The UK government is not doing enough to help professional and private motorists.

According to RAC Europe data analysis, we are one of the European countries that has done the least to support drivers with rising fuel costs.

On its own outside the EU

Government support came in the form of a 5p cut in fuel duty in March.

Of the 13 European countries to reduce fuel tax, the UK ranks 12th. Germany has taken the equivalent of 25p a litre in tax off of petrol, Italy 21p, Portugal 16p and both Ireland and the Netherlands nearly 15p.

Other European governments have introduced fuel discounts at forecourt tills. For instance, Spain has taken off 17p and France 15p, while some fuel retailers including TotalEnergies in France and BP Spain have discounts running of up to 33p per litre.

Of the remaining 15 EU states that haven’t taken steps to lower pump prices since March, all but six already charge less fuel duty than the UK.

Pumped up

“This analysis lays bare an uncomfortable truth for the UK Government,”  comments RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams. “Compared to other European countries, it’s pretty much done the least to support drivers through the current period of record high fuel prices. The result is the UK being one of the most expensive places to fill up and putting it above other countries that have historically charged more for fuel than UK retailers do, including France and the Netherlands.

“Perhaps even more frustratingly, those countries that have not cut tax on fuel at all since March – including Greece and Austria – are still cheaper than the UK. At the opposite end of the spectrum, some other nations have done a huge amount with Portugal cutting duty an incredible seven times since March, and France and Spain both offering significant discounts on fuel at the checkout.”

Better future?

UK pump prices have started to fall in recent days, but the average price of a litre of both petrol and diesel is well above the current EU averages of 159p and 161p respectively. The UK is currently the joint-second most expensive country when it comes to the average cost of a litre of petrol (186p) – behind only Finland (190p) with Denmark also at 186p – and the second most expensive for diesel at 195p per litre, with only Sweden charging more (201p).

What’s more, the government is making a windfall bonus income through tax. The higher prices mean the tax payments are incrementally higher too for the Treasury.

However, both candidates for leader of the Conservative party, and therefore Prime Minister, have vowed to tackle to problem if they get elected.