UK has highest diesel costs in Europe

May 29, 2024

UK drivers are paying the highest prices for diesel in Europe, according to car and breakdown service company the RAC. The average cost of diesel is 155p per litre, 5p more than in Ireland and Belgium, the next highest. The RAC argues there's "no good reason" for these high prices and calls for retailers to cut pump prices.

According to the RAC, retailers' margins-the difference between wholesale costs and the sale price excluding VAT-are significantly above the long-term average. This is despite a 5p cut in motor fuel tax in March 2022, aimed at easing high oil costs following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Other European countries with higher fuel duties still pay less for diesel. For example, Italy, with the same high fuel tax, has diesel prices at 148p per litre, 7p cheaper than the UK.

The RAC's data, sourced from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), reveals that supermarket petrol stations' increased profit margins led to drivers paying an extra 6p per litre for fuel in 2022. The CMA's March report highlighted that these margins remain "concerning".

A "Pumpwatch" proposal suggests that forecourts update prices within 30 minutes of a change, allowing drivers to find the cheapest options more easily.

Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, cited rising costs and crime as reasons for higher prices. Retailers are facingunprecedented theft levels, and increased business rates, energy costs, and the National Minimum Wage all contribute to higher pump prices.

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