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Want to fill up for £1 a litre? Take Euro driving holiday

By Claire McNeilly

Published 17/07/2015

Local motorists could be filling up at pumps charging just £1 a litre this summer - if they are on holiday on the Continent
Local motorists could be filling up at pumps charging just £1 a litre this summer - if they are on holiday on the Continent

Local motorists could be filling up at pumps charging just £1 a litre this summer - if they are on holiday on the Continent.

The AA has revealed a huge difference between the cost of petrol and diesel in mainland Europe and the UK.

The average price of petrol in the UK is 117.24 pence per litre (ppl), while diesel is 119.33ppl, according to the AA's July Fuel Price Report.

Northern Ireland is now the second cheapest UK region for unleaded (at 117.2ppl) and the cheapest for diesel (117.9ppl).

But a survey of pump prices across Europe has revealed that local holidaymakers can find petrol at the equivalent of a £1 a litre or less in Austria, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Slovakia and Spain.

And the only countries surveyed that charge more than £1 a litre for diesel are Italy, Norway and Switzerland.

In the middle of June, the AA said the wholesale prices of petrol and diesel feeding into the pump were almost the same - but diesel cost on average 3.8p more at the pump.

It added that although diesel is currently averaging 2p a litre more at the pump, two weeks ago wholesale prices for diesel were 2.5p a litre cheaper than petrol prices.

AA president Edmund King said that UK drivers on roads in continental Europe this summer will discover "a whole new world of transparent pricing" at forecourts.

"Many will find the £1 a litre that was so elusive when oil prices crashed at the start of this year," he said.

"Most importantly, ordinary diesel car owners will see just how much they are being exploited and ripped off by a UK fuel industry that thinks it is acceptable to manipulate the prices these drivers pay.

"The same drivers will conclude that the UK Government wants their tax and their votes but does little to offset the disadvantages the British driving consumer faces."

The AA said that UK drivers would also feel exploited by fuel business interests because the Iran nuclear deal had little impact on the price of oil despite the prospect of more crude being released on to an already over-supplied global market.

Over the past month, even with Brent crude falling 9.5% from $63 to $57 a barrel, the wholesale price of petrol has fallen just 2%, from around $737 a tonne to $725.

The motoring organisation said that is why driving in mainland Europe will be a breath of fresh air for UK drivers, and a huge eye-opener for those with diesel cars looking to grab a real bargain.

One reason for 12 of the 17 listed European countries charging less for petrol than in the UK is the high level of tax here - VAT and duty forms 66% of the pump price.

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