Britain’s drivers are being crippled by the cost of fuel… best Christmas present Chancellor can give is to lower duty


THIS Christmas, while opening presents with their loved ones, I hope our politicians spare a thought for the millions who have had to fork out ever-increasing sums to drive home to families.

With an election looming, it has never been more vital for our elected officials to put the interests of Britain’s 37million drivers front and centre.


I hope our politicians spare a thought for the millions who have had to fork out ever-increasing sums to drive home to familiesCredit: Alamy

The epidemic of anti-motorist policies that has swept the country since 2010 and continues to grow must be reversed.

Doing so may protect those red wall seats that could decide the election.

And we don’t want to see false promises and hidden cash-grabbing surprises.

The March Budget must deliver positive action in alleviating the cost-of-living crisis that has hit motorists, logistics and the economy so intensely.

Let’s hear the word incentivise, for a change.

The RAC tells us in its doom-ridden seasonal traffic analysis that drivers are planning 21million holiday getaways this week, with 60 per cent of those trips crammed into the last three days before December 25.

And, of course, the UK’s motorways and major roads will be chock-full of bottleneck misery, with the daddy of six-lane congestion, the M25, expected to deliver its customary delays of up to an extra 60 minutes. Oh joy.

To add to this festive cheer, there is the matter of the cost of filling up our indispensable chariots that continues to be a rip-off, with prices fluctuating wildly and no apparent will to do anything about it.

I am in regular contact with backbench Tory MPs and Government ministers, who on the face of it tell me they are firm supporters of my Fair-FuelUK campaigning efforts for lower pump prices via reduced fuel tax and truthful pump pricing.

But voters are fed up with just rhetoric, they want cheaper prices.

Some progress has been made.

Along with the fantastic campaigning help of The Sun, UK drivers have had the longest period in excise taxation history where fuel duty has been frozen, for 14 years.

We have even experienced a 6p cut in this regressive tax since 2010.

Yet still the UK remains the ninth most expensive of 166 countries in which to buy diesel.

How is it that EU states like Spain can price derv — diesel oil — 20p per litre cheaper than in the UK? In Germany it is 10p less.

The answer is simple — they recognise that the commercial heartbeat of any economy is logistics.

Make transport costs as low as possible and economies will thrive.

To make your festive picture even bleaker, US diesel is 70p per litre cheaper.

Just imagine — if we had increased, not cut back, our drilling capability into our massive oil-rich reserves we, too, could dream of such low filling-up costs.

But no, the UK is being run by myopic eco zealots, so get used to high pump prices for the foreseeable future.

The Ukraine war, Gaza crisis and new threats to tankers in the Suez Canal means filling up will cost more.

Fair and transparent

Let us not forget the continuing unchecked profiteering in the fuel supply chain.

In July we all had high hopes that FairFuelUK and The Sun’s PumpWatch proposal to deliver fair and transparent pricing at the pumps, endorsed by the Competition and Markets Authority, would now be in full operation.

Well, there is no sign of it, despite the efforts of Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security, to make oil brands, wholesalers and retailers deliver lower prices.

Since August 17, petrol prices have fallen on average by five to ten per cent yet profit per litre has more than doubled. Diesel has fallen only marginally.

The brilliant PetrolPrices. com shows that the massive variations in prices across the major brands for petrol average out 13 pence per litre for diesel. With Shell at £1.53 and Costco at £1.40.

A similar picture emerges for petrol with Shell at £1.45 and Costco averaging £1.31, a 14p per litre spread across the UK.

And there is not much low-pricing hope with supermarkets, as we traditionally enjoyed in previous years.

Yes, they are lower-priced, but not by much.

So, my Christmas message to all political parties, and in particular to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, is this: Stop hounding drivers for easy tax revenues.

When you were not burdened with the virtue-signalling journey to a net-zero target that you know will bankrupt us all, you always expressed support for lower fuel duty.

Why have you lost that aspiration?

Pump prices should be 10p per litre lower.

PumpWatch would make that happen.

And if you implemented a significant fuel duty cut, it would massively lower inflation, put more money into consumer spending, deliver more jobs, and stimulate business investment and higher levels of corporation tax and VAT.

You have the power to make it a happy new year for motorists.

Deliver on that aspiration.

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