Britons warned of 'very much unwelcome' petrol and diesel price hikes amid Labour fuel duty concerns

Petrol pump and Keir Starmer outside No 10

Keir Starmer faces questions about his plans for fuel duty

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Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves


Published: 05/07/2024

- 15:04

Experts have warned that fuel duty could become a big issue for Keir Starmer

Motoring experts are calling on Sir Keir Starmer and the new Labour Government to act quickly to prove it is on the side of drivers by tackling the nation's biggest motoring concerns.

One of the key changes it can look to make immediately is to slash expensive petrol and diesel prices which have been a bugbear for motorists in recent years as retailers and major supermarkets continue to be accused of profiteering.


The RAC has called on motorists to retain the current rate of fuel duty at five pence per litre, which is set to expire at the next Spring Budget in March 2025.

The motoring organisation said the freeze could continue until at least Spring 2026 or until a time when a PumpWatch scheme has been set up and is showing clear benefits for motorists.

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Filling up petrol

Experts have called for Labour to outline plans for fuel duty

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Experts have suggested that Labour's hesitancy to commit to a fuel duty freeze or cut could have a disastrous impact on petrol and diesel drivers

In the Labour manifesto, there was no mention of fuel duty and what the party plans to do with the future of the tax, with Keir Starmer telling GB News that it would be taken as a budget-by-budget issue.

Paul Hollick, chair of the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP), said: "Uncertainty over fuel duty would be a worry for some fleets.

“Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has also refused to rule out future increases, although there was no mention in Labour’s manifesto document.

"At a point in time when company transport budgets are very much under pressure, any increase will be very much unwelcome."

Research from the RAC has found that the cost of fuel has been identified as one of the biggest issues for motorists, alongside improving roads and reducing the motor insurance tax burden.

Simon Williams, head of policy for the RAC, said: "There are some clear quick wins the new Government can take advantage of, should it choose to."

He highlighted the recently legislated PumpWatch fuel price checker, saying that this scheme must be introduced quickly.

The expert said this would give drivers a fair deal at the pumps after years of unfair price hikes for both petrol and diesel.

The scheme has already seen clear benefits with a similar system being used in Northern Ireland, namely the Consumer Council Fuel Price Checker, which sees drivers save between five and 10p per litre compared to the rest of the UK.

At present, the average UK cost for a litre of petrol is 144.94p per litre, while diesel drivers are paying just over £1.50 a litre.

In comparison, drivers in Strabane will pay around 137.8p for petrol on average, while diesel vehicle owners in Omagh are charged as little as 139.8p - making both areas the cheapest in Northern Ireland and across the rest of the UK.

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Petrol and diesel prices

Drivers in Northern Ireland benefit from cheaper prices compared to the rest of the UK

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The RAC said it often meets with the CMA to streamline the process of introducing a national PumpWatch scheme with the aim of reducing costs for petrol and diesel drivers across the UK.

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