WHY IS FUEL SO EX­PEN­SIVE FOR BRIT DRIV­ERS?

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By SI­MON DEAN

FILL­ING up the av­er­age fam­ily car with petrol now costs more than an hour of plea­sure with a sexy hooker.

In re­cent weeks, as the Mid­dle East slips closer to war, the price at the pumps has again started to rise af­ter mod­est falls at the be­gin­ning of the year.

Diesel soared to a record £1.50 a litre at a Shell garage on the M6 near Coven­try, with av­er­age diesel prices now stand­ing at 143.61p and petrol at 135.39p.

But how­ever much Iran rat­tles its sabres or blocks the Straits of Hor­muz, the big­gest hit on the mo­torists’ wal­let comes cour­tesy of Her Majesty’s Trea­sury.

This week it emerged that Brit driv­ers are shoul­der­ing the heav­i­est tax bur­den in the EU at the pumps.

Sixty per cent of the price of petrol and 58 per cent of the cost of diesel is made up of du­ties and VAT in Bri­tain, the high­est in the EU.

Cam­paign­ers met Trea­sury min­is­ter Chloe Smith yes­ter­day to de­mand ac­tion for mil­lions who are al­ready fac­ing a reg­u­lar £100 fill-up for an av­er­age-size car.

Mid-jan­uary, the price for diesel in the UK was 141.3p a litre. But with­out tax and du­ties, it would be only 59.8p.

Bur­den

Petrol cost 132.9p, although with­out tax and du­ties it would be a more man­age­able 52p.

We all KNOW that petrol and diesel is so dear in the UK be­cause of the tax levied on fuel. The ques­tion is WHY?

One cam­paigner, Lynne Beau­mont of Fairfueluk, says that the tax bur­den has grown steadily.

She said: “Fuel duty has crept up over the years a penny here and there and the re­ac­tion has tended to be ‘What’s a penny or two?’ “But for a medi­um­sized haulier with 50 lor­ries, a 1p a litre rise in fuel adds £30,000 to their fuel bill. As mar­gins are so low in the in­dus­try, that ex­tra has to be passed on to the con­sumer.

“We are pre­sent­ing Chloe Smith with a re­port show­ing that low­er­ing duty would help the econ­omy.”

Lynne added: “Frankly I’m amazed that there is not ri­ot­ing in the streets. We tend to ac­cept things in this coun­try. It’s ex­tra­or­di­nary.

“But Fairfueluk does not back di­rect ac­tion. That would cause prob­lems for or­di­nary mo­torists. We have the sup­port of 150 MPS, who will be the ones vot­ing on Bud­get mea­sures. We can make a dif­fer­ence.”

But in re­al­ity how much dif­fer­ence can even 150 MPS make? Be­cause mo­torists are the cash cows with the big­gest ud­ders in the field.

Driv­ers are taxed twice ev­ery time they fill their tanks – first with fuel duty then with 20 per cent VAT.

Cof­fers

Fuel duty raises around £27bil­lion a year for Ge­orge Os­borne’s Trea­sury cof­fers.

The good thing about fuel – from the point of view of the Trea­sury – is that we can’t get by with­out it. No mat­ter how much petrol and diesel are taxed, we still need to get to work and we still need our goods de­liv­ered to the shops.

Be­cause it’s es­sen­tial, when fuel goes up, de­mand does not fall by a cor­re­spond­ing amount – it’s known as price in­elas­tic­ity.

The Chan­cel­lor can hike the price of fuel again and again and we’ll carry on buy­ing.

Fuel duty is planned to rise ev­ery year by at least the rate of in­fla­tion, re­gard­less of what hap­pens to the price of oil. And VAT, the other tax levied on fuel, is charged at the stan­dard rate, so as fuel rises, VAT also rises.

The last ma­jor protest against fuel duty was in 2000, when block­ades of re­finer­ies and “go slows” on Bri­tain’s mo­tor­ways caused chaos.

Twelve years on, the price of fill­ing up has DOU­BLED. In the past two years alone, they’ve soared 25 per cent

Os­borne has sig­nalled he will not be able to re­peat freezes or cuts, hav­ing spent bil­lions to keep fuel duty 6p lower than it would oth­er­wise have been.

So it looks like we’re stuck with sky-high fuel.

Un­less we sud­denly be­come French and be­gin set­ting fire to things to show we’re cross – but we won’t do that...we can’t af­ford to waste

the petrol!

HIGHER PUR­CHASE: Record pump

prices SILLY FU­ELS: We keep pay­ing, but will be al­ways?

RIOT WAY: French meth­ods won’t please Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne (

MEET­ING: Min­is­ter

Chloe

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