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UK's petrol is cheap - depending where you live

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Petrol is one of the biggest costs for a motorist. However, as much as motorists feel they pay over the odds at the pumps of Britain, other countries in Europe have to pay even more.

In the fuel price report for June 2011, the average price for a litre of standard unleaded petrol across Britain falls around the £1.36 per litre mark. This is actually a reduction on last month’s cost, but prices are predicted to rise again in the near future.

Surprisingly though, out of fourteen countries, the UK only ranks eleventh highest in the price table for unleaded fuel prices. Norway currently reside at the top of the table with an average of £1.64 – almost 30p more per litre than the UKs prices.

This is despite the fact that Norway is the third largest petrol exporter in the world. Efforts are being undertaken to make the country greener, but this has resulted in two taxes being introduced on petrol – 48p tax on the fuel and a 9p carbon tax per litre added on top.

At the other end of the spectrum, at the bottom of the table is Estonia, who are only paying £1.06. Petrol prices in the Baltic States are among the cheapest in the EU, although prices do vary considerably from country to country.


A surprising result in the report showed that the UK is the only country that actually pays more for diesel than they do for petrol. Every other countries diesel price worked out cheaper per litre than that of petrol.

The table below shows the prices in each country in UK pence per litre for petrol and diesel:



NORWAY 164.19 152.40
NETHERLANDS 150.33 123.35
BELGIUM 148.30 126.96
DENMARK 147.82 135.51
GREECE 146.01 128.81
FINLAND 143.46 120.35
FRANCE 141.95 125.64
GERMANY 139.31 122.82
PORTUGAL 136.84 118.14
SWEDEN 136.02 135.16


136.01 139.08
ITALY 135.34 123.88
IRELAND 133.75 125.90
ESTONIA 106.60 104.83

Although looking at the table may bring a sly smile to the faces of many UK motorists, looking across the pond to our colonial cousins will dishearten many a driver, as the average price for petrol in America is only 60.44 pence per litre.

The reason for European petrol being almost twice as expensive is because many nations are taxed heavily on petrol to discourage private vehicle use. The tax will then go towards funding for things such as public transport.

In some European countries the tax levied on petrol pumps can equate to as much as 75% of the fuel cost.  In the UK alone, tax is added twice onto petrol as VAT is added on to the cost after fuel tax is applied – which effectively means motorists are paying a tax on a tax.

By Ben Malkin

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