Tuesday 13 May 2008

UK drivers pay highest fuel taxes in Europe

British motorists are paying the highest fuel taxes in Europe – and probably the world – a study has disclosed.

About 57p of the cost of a litre of petrol in Britain is tax, compared with 31p in Spain, 45p in Italy, 48p in France and 52p in Germany.

The Telegraph launched a campaign this week calling on Gordon Brown to scrap plans to increase road tax and a planned 2p per litre rise in fuel duty.

The average Briton pays almost £900 in petrol taxes annually.

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The study, by the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers, shows that Britain has the highest fuel taxes of 27 European countries surveyed.

The tax is also higher than in America, Canada and Australia.

Edmund King, the president of the AA, which is supporting the Telegraph's campaign, said: "We may be pleased that we have two English teams in the Uefa Champions League final but it is more worrying that we are top of the European fuel taxation league in terms of unleaded petrol and diesel."

Mr Brown is under growing pressure from Conservatives and his own MPs to help motorists.

A study from accountants Grant Thornton shows that the rise in oil prices will see the Treasury take over £1 billion extra in VAT on petrol – more than would have been garnered from the 2p duty rise.

A Treasury spokesman said yesterday: "The Government understands that families are feeling the pressure from high fuel prices. To respond to short-term pressures, we announced in the Budget that the 2 pence per litre increase, scheduled for April 1, will be deferred until October 1.

"Our immediate priority, however, is to encourage international pressure on the oil-producing countries in Opec to bring down high oil prices."

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