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Logistics UK verdict - Why are UK diesel prices still the most expensive in Europe?


UK fleet operators are still having to pay more for diesel than their European counterparts, despite the 5p-a-litre fuel duty discount introduced in March 2022.

A new report from the RAC states that the average price of diesel at UK pumps is currently 155p, which makes it 5p more expensive than both Ireland and Belgium on 150p.

Although duty on both petrol and diesel was cut from 57.95p to 52.95p in spring 2022 to ease the burden of rapidly rising fuel prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK still has the highest rate of duty on diesel in Europe alongside Italy.

So, what should diesel be costing us here in the UK?

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “The average price of a litre of diesel should really be down to around the 145p level if retailers were charging fairer prices.

“The margin on petrol is also, in our view, unreasonably high at 13p. We can see no good reason why retailers in Great Britain aren’t cutting their prices at the pumps.

“It’s important to note that in Northern Ireland, where there is greater competition for fuels in the absence of supermarket dominance, the average price of diesel is just 144.9p – 10p less than the UK average, and petrol is 6p cheaper at 142.4p."

Logistics UK’s Deputy Director – Policy Information, Sarah Watkins said: “Logistics businesses need to make significant investment in vehicles and premises in order to decarbonise, so it is important that the impact of fuel price increases is minimised to allow them to do this.

“Additional taxation, through measures such as fuel duty, simply increases the cost base for operators and especially for those who do not yet have low or zero carbon options for their heavy vehicle fleets.

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“With fuel representing around 30% of the cost of operating a 44 tonne truck, we know that operators keenly monitor the price of diesel to ensure they are purchasing it in the most cost-effective way.

“While most business will be using fuel cards or bunker fuel it is important that the industry is reassured that there is scrutiny to check the consumer market is working as it should.”

Diesel in Italy is still currently 7p cheaper than the UK, at an average of 148p a litre, while France’s duty rate is only the equivalent of a penny lower than the UK (52p) but its average price for diesel is 9p less at 146p. In Belgium, where duty is the equivalent of 2p less than the UK at 51p, its diesel is 5p cheaper at 150p.

Published On: 06/06/2024 15:00:00

 

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