Fleet News

Row as ETA calls for 14% fuel price rise

A FURIOUS row has erupted over calls for a 14% rise in fuel prices in the March 9 Budget which could send fleet operating costs soaring. Calls from the Environmental Transport Association for the annual 6% above inflation fuel duty escalator to be more than doubled have been condemned by the AA and RAC as 'motorist bashing' and 'absurd'.

If Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown backs the ETA's call it would see petrol and diesel pump prices reach a minimum of 338p a gallon/74p litre and 342p a gallon/75p a litre respectively - an increase of about 48p a gallon/10p a litre. For a fleet of 100 unleaded petrol cars averaging 32mpg over 18,000 miles a year, the annual bill would increase by £26,928, according to figures provided by PHH Vehicle Management. The equivalent fuel bill increase for a same-sized diesel fleet would be £21,790 a year.

The ETA's call comes just a month after motoring organisations feared the Chancellor could increase fuel duties by more than the already pledged 6% above inflation. The ETA claims the current £16 billion which motorists pay annually in fuel and vehicle excise duty level falls woefully short of paying for the damage to the environment and health which vehicles cause - a bill it estimates at £42 billion.

ETA director Andrew Davis said: 'Motorists do not pay for the damage they cause. These costs must be paid. Taxation is one of the best ways of doing so. I shall be sending a copy of our report to the Chancellor of the Exchequer with the recommendation that he increases his annual fuel tax above its current 6% level. I would suggest a level of 14%.'

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