The government has been urged to consider cutting fuel duty as prices rocket amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. According to the RAC, petrol and diesel price hit new record highs on Tuesday, with petrol averaging 164.98p per litre in the UK, while diesel prices hit an eye-watering average of 176.04p per litre.
According to the motoring organisation, the price of petrol has risen by 13p per litre since the start of March, while diesel prices have increased by almost 21p per litre. Both are record increases that mean filling a typical 55-litre fuel tank with petrol now costs an average of £90.74, while doing the same with diesel costs an average of £96.82.
With the energy crisis still in full swing and households already under financial pressure, the RAC Foundation has called on the government to consider cutting tax on fuel if the price increases continue. The Irish government has already taken such a step, with a tax cut of 20 cents per litre on petrol and 15 cents per litre on diesel until the end of August.
A petition to cut fuel duty, which currently stands at almost 60p per litre on both petrol and diesel, has attracted more than 85,000 signatures. The government responded to the petition in November, saying it would continue the freeze on fuel duty into the 2022-23 financial year, but the RAC Foundation said a reduction would help households through a difficult time.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, also pointed out that increased fuel prices meant the government was already making money from the high prices thanks to the 20-percent VAT rate.
“If the Chancellor is looking for ways to help with soaring household bills then an obvious option would be to follow the example set in Ireland and cut the rate of fuel duty to ease the burden of soaring pump prices,” said Gooding. “That would directly benefit the three quarters or so of households that run a car and indirectly help us all by reducing the rising fuel cost pressure on businesses and hauliers that will otherwise inevitably make its way to higher prices on the shelves for consumers.
“Over recent weeks the Chancellor’s tax take from drivers will have risen because VAT is levied as a percentage of the pump price of fuel – including the duty element – so it is not unreasonable to suggest he gives something back whilst domestic budgets are being squeezed so hard.”