When asked what the most expensive ongoing motoring cost is, most, if not all, drivers will tell you the same answer: fuel. Whether it be petrol or diesel, Britons tend to pay some of the highest fuel costs in Europe. Even the Republic of Ireland has cheaper fuel than we do!
Why is fuel so expensive in the United Kingdom?
There are several elements that make up the price of petrol and diesel that you pay at the filling station. They are are follows:
Raw fuel – this is the cost of extracting and refining the raw crude oil. These costs vary on a regular basis depending on the price of crude oil at any given time;
Retailers – this includes the delivery of the fuel to the retailer. Forecourt retailers tend to make around 5 to 7 pence per litre profit;
Fuel duty – this government tax is currently set at 57.95 pence per litre. Fuel duty has been at this price since 2009;
VAT – another government tax, charged at the standard rate of 20%.
If the cost of petrol or diesel at your local filling station is 130.9 pence per litre, what you pay per litre is actually broken down as follows:
44.13 pence (33.7%) = extraction and refining of crude oil;
7 pence (5.3%) = delivery to retailer and their profit;
57.95 pence (44.3%) = fuel duty;
21.82 (16.7%) pence = VAT.
You can see from that example above that 79.77 pence or just over 61% of what you pay at the pumps are government taxes! Not many people realise how their fuel costs are broken down and incorrectly assume that the fuel retailer they buy their petrol or diesel from is making a huge profit.
With the cost of these fossil fuels inevitably rising in the future due to rapidly depleting sources of crude oil and increased demand, motorists in the United Kingdom are starting to think about how they can cut the cost of their fuel bills. Here are some helpful tips for doing so, as submitted by Madeleine Bates from fortautoreviews.com:
Ditch any excess weight
In your car, that is! Many drivers don’t realise that they are driving around with too much ‘stuff’ in their cars which they could just as easily leave at home.
Because these drivers are carrying around extra weight, this has to make a car’s engine work harder and, as a result, use more fuel than it would normally have done.
Don’t use air conditioning (unless you need to)
Another drain on a car’s engine is the air conditioning system. It’s obviously a great feature of any modern car, because it helps you to cool down in the summer and stop your windows from fogging up when it’s cold and raining.
You could always ‘cycle’ your air conditioning to help reduce fuel usage, so, for example, leave it on for 5 minutes, turn it off for 5 minutes, and so on.
Don’t use your car for short trips
If you can get to your destination by walking, cycling, taking public transport or getting a lift with someone else, then you should seriously consider doing this instead. The end result means that your fuel will last longer, especially if you drive a car with a ‘thirsty’ engine.
Drive a fuel-efficient car
Do you drive a gas guzzler? Then perhaps you should be trading it in for a car which is more forgiving on your fuel usage. Diesel cars offer the best fuel economy, as do plug-in hybrid electric cars.