Last month we reported that fuel costs remained a major concern for British motorists. According to a new study by the Post Office, concerns could well be justified.
The study has shown that British drivers are currently paying up to 43p more per litre than other drivers in the continent. Even drivers in neighbouring France are paying 29p per litre less than UK motorists.
The information – which has come from the Post Office Travel Money annual report into motoring – said that even after exchange rate discrepancies were taken into account, diesel in the continent was cheaper than in Britain in 19 of the 22 countries surveyed. ‘It does smack of a rip-off’ the report noted.
British supermarkets yesterday responded to the findings by cutting up to 2p off the cost of a litre of diesel, though critics have still argued that a further decrease is necessary.
British diesel prices are 20th out of 22 EU countries, with an average price of £1.37 per litre compared to 94p in cheapest Andorra and 99p in runner-up Luxembourg. Even the sixth placed country – Spain – was measured at just £1.11.
For a family driving 1,000 miles, a drive through France would cost £44.26 less than it would for a family making the same journey in the UK. The same journey in Andorra would cost £65.56 less. Petrol price gaps are still present, though less dramatic: the UK in 12th place at a total cost of £1.31 per litre compared to £1.04 per litre in Andorra. The report said:
‘At £1.37, the UK emerged as one of the most expensive countries for diesel motoring.’
There were some positives noted in the report. Lower pump prices on the continent combined with a stronger pound against the Euro should mean that UK drivers obtain a bumper summer bonus when driving. Vice versa, the report advises those planning to drive into Britain to fill up before they arrive. The report stated:
‘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.’
RAC Fuel spokesman Simon Williams said that UK garages were dragging their feet, and that their actions smacked of profiteering:
‘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.’
Ahead of the damning report, Asda was the first to cut costs, cutting up to 2p per litre off their diesel and setting a price cap of 131.7p per litre. Petrol prices remain unchanged at 127.7p per litre. The supermarket chain noted that significant falls in the wholesale price of diesel meant that it could pass on cost savings to customers.