Drivers 'huge petrol tax burden'

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File photo dated 13/09/05 of a person using a petrol pump as British drivers are still facing a huge petrol and diesel  tax burden despite three years of fuel duty freezes, according to the RAC Foundation. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday March 3, 2014. The UK has the highest rate of diesel tax in Europe while only Sweden imposes a higher petrol tax duty than the UK, the foundation said. Its figures showed that tax accounts for 59% of the price of diesel in the UK, with Sweden (56%) second and Italy (55%) third. As much as 61% of the price of petrol in the UK is down to tax, with Swedes (62%) paying the most in tax and the Netherlands (61%) paying the same. See PA story TRANSPORT Petrol. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

British drivers are still facing a huge petrol and diesel tax burden despite three years of fuel duty freezes, according to the RAC Foundation.

The UK has the highest rate of diesel tax in Europe while only Sweden imposes a higher petrol tax duty than the UK, the foundation said.

Its figures showed that tax accounts for 59% of the price of diesel in the UK, with Sweden (56%) second and Italy (55%) third.

As much as 61% of the price of petrol in the UK is down to tax, with Swedes (62%) paying the most in tax and the Netherlands (61%) paying the same.

In contrast, of 28 European countries surveyed, Luxembourg's drivers fork out the least amount in tax which accounts for only 41% of the total price.

For petrol, Bulgarian drivers pay the least, with tax accounting for 45% of the total price.

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "We're only about two weeks away from the Budget and the Chancellor has made much of the fact that fuel duty has not risen for three years.
However this has made little impact on the huge proportion of tax the UK's 36 million drivers pay on their fuel.

"The irony is that if you take tax out of the equation we actually have the fifth cheapest diesel in the EU and the second cheapest petrol. The oil companies and retailers are often blamed for soaring pump prices but these figures reveal that's not the whole picture.

"With the poorest car owners now spending as much as a third of their income on buying and running a vehicle, and with a record number of people now commuting to work by car, there are plenty of reasons why the Chancellor should consider going beyond his promise to continue the fuel duty freeze and actually cut the rate further."

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