Are We Getting Ripped Off In Britain?

The Price of Fuel In The UK Only Ever Seems To Go Up, But Is It The Same For Other Countries? Evidence Suggests That We Might Be Getting Ripped Off In The UK!

Petrol prices have been a hot topic in the UK for the last few years. The price of a litre of fuel has rocketed in recent times, from around £1 per litre in 2009 to £1.35 a litre today. While filling the tank has never cost more, other countries around the world pay a fraction of what long-suffering British drivers pay for fuel.

Why is fuel in the UK so expensive? And why do other countries – such as the USA – pay a lot less for their petrol and diesel? We look at the reasons that our fuel is so expensive, why petrol sales in the UK are falling and we reveal the cheapest and most expensive places in the world to fill up your car.

Why are fuel prices in the UK so expensive?

According to data published in the Daily Mail in 2012, the UK is the seventh most expensive country in the world for petrol and diesel. There are a number of reasons that this is the case, but the most significant reason is the high tax on fuel in this country.

In 2004 a litre of petrol cost, on average, 80p of which 59p was tax. By 2012 the average price of a litre had jumped to £1.36 with tax now accounting for 86p of this.

Despite the government freezing fuel duty this year, tax rises over recent years have driven up the cost of petrol and now account for more than half the price you pay at the pump.

Other countries apply much lower taxes to fuel. For example, federal and local taxes in the USA only account for around 12 per cent of the price of a gallon of fuel.

Fuel prices have also risen because of an increased worldwide demand for crude oil. The price of a litre depends on factors such as how much it costs to search for oil, to remove it from the ground, and transport it.

Petrol sales in the UK are falling

As fuel prices in the UK have risen, the demand for petrol has started to fall. Forecourt sales of petrol fell from 22 billion litres in 2007 to 17 billion in 2012. According to the AA, the two main reasons for a slump in petrol sales over the last few years are:

The rising cost of filling up
Greater use of smart cars and diesel vehicles
The chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association, Brian Madderson, said: "In 2000, 10 per cent of new cars were diesel. Last year, over 50 per cent of new cars were diesel and with that kind of change, and motorists cutting back on discretionary spending we do see right across the UK petrol sales in steep decline."

The best and worst places to fill up your car

In 2012, the Daily Mail revealed the cheapest and most expensive countries in the world for petrol. Britain was the seventh most expensive place to fill up your car but other European countries charge even more for fuel.

Norway was the most expensive place to fill up, with a litre costing around 22p more than it does in the UK. This is mainly because motor fuel is taxed with both a road use tax and a CO2 tax in Norway.

Turkey is the second most expensive place to fill up with the Netherlands in third place, where a litre costs around 6p more than in the UK. Italy, Greece and Denmark were all more expensive than the UK.

At the other end of the spectrum, Venezuela is the cheapest place to fill up your car. A litre of petrol in the country costs just 8p. Petrol is seen as a birthright in the country and rising fuel prices brought down the government in the country in the last 1980s.

Arab countries also feature prominently on the ‘cheap petrol’ list. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain are the next cheapest places in the world to buy petrol with a litre of petrol in Bahrain costing just 15p.

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