Petrol and diesel drivers handed major lifeline with fuel duty freeze to combat prices at the pump

Petrol and diesel drivers handed major lifeline with fuel duty freeze to combat prices at the pump

WATCH: Jeremy Hunt announces extension of fuel duty freeze

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 06/03/2024

- 12:46

Updated: 06/03/2024

- 14:12

The freeze comes at a time when petrol and diesel prices are rising quickly

Jeremy Hunt has backed drivers and extended the five pence per litre freeze on fuel duty, with motorists set to benefit from 12 more months of cheaper prices at the pump.

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier today, the Chancellor outlined the Government’s plan for the upcoming financial year, extending the alcohol duty freeze and helping the poorest families.

Hunt confirmed that the 5p freeze on fuel duty would continue for a further 12 months, reassuring drivers who have been dealing with fluctuating prices at the pumps.

Reports suggested yesterday that the freeze would be extended as the Government positions itself as supporting motorists during the cost of living crisis.

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Petrol pump and Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt said the changes would help drivers at the pumps


Unveiling the fuel duty freeze, the Chancellor said: “The Shadow Chancellor complained about the freeze on fuel duty and Labour has opposed it at every opportunity. The Labour Mayor of London wants to punish motorists even more with his Ulez plans but lots of families and sole traders depend on their car."

Hunt thanked a handful of MPs and warned that if he did nothing, the rate of fuel duty would have risen by 13 per cent this month.

He added: "I have as a result decided to maintain the 5p cut and freeze fuel duty for another 12 months. This will save the average car driver £50 next year and bring total savings since the 5p cut was introduced to around £250."

The fuel duty freeze is expected to cost the Treasury £5billion over the next 12 months, bringing its total spending on the measures to £13billion since 2022.

Commenting on the fuel duty freeze, Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK, said: "It would be crass not to be thankful to Jeremy Hunt and the six previous Tory Chancellors for keeping fuel duty frozen, for the 14th year in succession and at the dying embers of their Conservative administration.

"But when nine out of 10 drivers call for a significant cut in this regressive levy and nearly 40 MPs want it lowered too, it shows that he is too scared and economically ignorant of the growth potential in cutting consumer taxes."

The latest data from the RAC found that drivers were dealing with the largest monthly increase in petrol and diesel prices for five months.

The average price of petrol jumped by 4p a litre in February while diesel drivers are still dealing with rising prices, with a 5p per litre hike last month.

The average price of unleaded petrol now stands at 144.76p by the close, adding more than £2 to the price of a full tank, while diesel jumped to 153.22p.

Jonathan Gullis, Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, praised the move, saying: "A big win for motorists with the Chancellor keeping the 5p cut in fuel duty and continuing the inflation freeze."

Motor insurance expert Julie Daniels, spokesperson for Compare the Market, said motorists would be relieved that the fuel duty freeze has been extended to tackle pump costs.

She added: "However, the cost of driving is still increasing, and some motorists are finding it difficult to stay on the road. Compare the Market’s figures show a typical motor premium has increased by £279 in February year-on-year to reach £892.


Petrol pump

The fuel duty freeze was first introduced in 2022


"With the cost of running a car becoming more expensive, many drivers have been forced to make fewer journeys or are cutting back on seeing friends and family. Worryingly, some expect to take on further debt to keep driving."

Robert Salter, Director, Global Mobility at Blick Rothenburg, said the fuel duty freeze was expected but raised doubts over net zero goals.

He said: "The freezing of fuel duty by the Government is no surprise – Governments have not imposed any increase in fuel duty for at least the last 12 years.

"However, whilst expected, it does create serious question marks about the Government’s real belief in the ‘green agenda’ and the legal obligation to reach ‘net zero’ by 2050."

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