Britons paying most expensive diesel prices in Europe as drivers face 'unreasonably high' fuel costs

A petrol and diesel pump

Diesel is roughly 6p more expensive in the UK than in other European countries

Hemma Visavadia

By Hemma Visavadia

Published: 29/05/2024

- 09:23

'The average price of a litre of diesel should really be down to around the 145p level if retailers were charging fairer prices'

Diesel purchased in the UK has been named the most expensive across all of Europe as drivers continue to get hit with unaffordable prices.

The average price of a litre-worth of diesel in the UK is 6p more than its neighbouring countries, despite the 5p duty cut.

The fuel duty freeze was introduced in 2022 to help mitigate the rising costs of petrol and diesel as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 5p per litre tax break helped drivers save roughly £50 per year and was extended for a further 12 months during the Budget announcement in March, although many motorists stated the support measures were not enough.

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A driver filling their car up with fuel

Petrol in the UK is 11th most expensive in Europe


Notably, the price of diesel in France is 10p less than in the UK despite having its fuelduty only a penny lower. France also has the same VAT rate as the UK at 20 per cent but still charges drivers less to fill up.

Italy and Belgium, however, have tax higher rates at 22 per cent and 21 per cent but diesel is still on average 6p cheaper than the UK.

Diesel currently costs drivers 155p, 5p more expensive than both Ireland and Belgium which see prices closer to £1.50.

In Italy, the cost of diesel is roughly 7p cheaper than in the UK, at an average of 148p a litre, while Ireland also has cheaper prices despite having a higher VAT rate at 23 per cent.

Simon Williams RAC fuel spokesperson explained that having the most expensive diesel in Europe despite the current 5p duty cut is a very “dubious honour”.

He said that despite the RAC bringing the issue to the attention of Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho, the price of diesel at the pump has “barely fallen”.

He warned: “The average price of a litre of diesel should really be down to around the 145p level if retailers were charging fairer prices.

The margin on petrol is also, in our view, unreasonably high at 13p.

While the UK leads the way in diesel prices across Europe, petrol prices for drivers are only the 11th most expensive in Europe with an average of 149p per litre.

Denmark has the misfortune of charging the most for petrol at 175p per litre, making it the most expensive in Europe. The tax rate is significantly higher at 25 per cent.

WIlliams added that the RAC can see “no good reason” why retailers in Great Britain aren’t cutting their prices at the pumps.


Petrol and diesel prices

The RAC is urging retailers to lower the prices of fuel 


With the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Act becoming law, he said it gives new powers to the Competition and Markets Authority to “closely monitor” road fuel prices and report any sign of "malpractice" to the Government.

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