British motorists are paying more than 10% more for fuel than their European neighbours.
A new report from comparison website uSwtich.com found that the average British driver spends £1,752 every year on fuel, more than any other ‘big five’ European country.
Spanish counterparts enjoy the cheapest fuel and pay around £343 less to fill up their vehicles each year.
USwitch.com also found that, over the past eight years, British drivers have paid up to 20% more for their fuel than Germany, Spain, France or Italy.
Figures compiled last month, before the kick-off of the supermarket fuel price war, reveal that domestic motorists pay an average of 7% more for petrol and 17% more for diesel than the rest of mainland Europe.
Germany and France both see higher taxes on petrol, but Britain has the highest taxation on diesel, currently at 57%.
As a result, the British government collects £33.4 billion in fuel charges, £200 million more than elsewhere.
Mark Monteiro, of uSwitch.com, said: “Although the government has postponed the two pence rise in duty, motorists still have a right to feel hard done by.
“We currently pay 7% more to fill our cars with petrol than our European neighbours, forking out an average of £1,753 a year to run our cars.”
Mr Monteiro called on fuel providers to drop their prices.
He said: “For drivers who are reliant on their cars for business, leaving the car at home is not an option. Price cuts of up to four pence per litre at the forecourts of some of our largest supermarkets have been a step in the right direction but we need to see larger brands follow suit.”
However, Ray Holloway, director of the Retail Motor Industry’s Petrol Retailers Association, defended retailers.
He said that the rise in fuel prices was affected by complex commercial deals, as well as government taxation, and implied that retailers are being unfairly blamed by drivers.
“Recent claims that forecourt retailers are not reducing the price of fuel at the pump fast enough to match the drop in the crude price are laughable,” Mr Holloway said.
“Retailers always sell fuel at the most competitive price they can manage, and will pass on any savings to the motorist as soon as possible.”
European petrol prices: Petrol (ppl) Diesel (ppl)
UK 119 133
Germany 116 115
Spain 96 100
France 114 110
Italy 116 116
Source: petrolprices.com/July 2008