Fuel duty rise will force prices up and make roads ‘dangerous’

Fuel duty: Proposed 12p increase branded 'disgusting' by campaigner

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will unveil his Spring Budget on Wednesday, March 15, with many hoping for clarity on the future of fuel duty. Last year, fuel duty was cut by 5p on every litre of petrol and diesel purchased in a bid to ease costs on drivers following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

From March 23, the fuel duty cut will run out and prices will be forced up again, adding to the burden of motorists amid the cost of living crisis.

It is feared that fuel duty could soar by 23 percent – or 12p a litre – after the Budget and the tax rises automatically in line with inflation.

Reports have even suggested that Treasury officials are pushing for a rise in fuel duty, even if it isn’t the full 12p.

This is despite the UK already possessing duty on petrol higher 10p higher than the EU average and 19p higher than the EU average on diesel.

It comes at a time when drivers are dealing with a number of additional costs including low emission zones.

These charges are also more likely to hit those on lower incomes who drive older, more polluting vehicles.

Bryn Brooker, head of road safety at Nextbase, said drivers were facing a barrage of rising costs inside and outside the car.

He added: “Fuel remains far more expensive than it was prior to the war in Europe, insurance costs are rising, and new emissions zones are popping up around the country. 

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“That’s not to mention the wider cost of living crisis lashing British families.

“We are calling on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to hold his nerve and keep fuel duty frozen and protect drivers from the 12p rise. 

“Fuel taxes in the UK are already significantly higher than they are in Europe, especially for diesel.”

He said that putting them up would harm the lower-income families the most, as well as costing the wider economy.

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According to RAC Fuel Watch, drivers are still seeing more expensive prices since last February when the war in Ukraine started.

Average petrol prices are up 15p a litre, compared to 2021, with average diesel prices up 34p for every litre.

Mr Brooker continued, saying some drivers facing cost pressures will make bad decisions that put themselves and other road users at risk.

This could include putting off maintenance or using dangerous hypermiling techniques to save fuel. 

He added: “Putting off maintenance means cars won’t be in their best shape to avoid accidents, with tyres and brakes in worst shape. 

“There’s already evidence some drivers are struggling to afford their MOT. 

“And hypermiling fuel-saving techniques are often dangerous, involving ‘coasting’ which removes a lot of driver control or tailgating behind larger vehicles to reduce drag.”

A good way to keep these dangerous techniques rare on our roads is keeping fuel from getting any more expensive, Mr Brooker said.

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