No EU price respite for UK drivers

Car owners hit by high petrol costs in the UK will find little relief if they take their vehicle abroad for their summer holiday, according to new figures from the RAC Foundation.

Eight eurozone countries, including France, Italy and Portugal, currently have average petrol prices higher than in Britain. The only good news is that Spain, a perennial favourite for UK holidaymakers, has petrol prices at 123p a litre – much lower than the current UK average of 136p.

The RAC Foundation said Greece has the highest petrol prices at present, at 155p a litre. Other pricey countries include Holland (154p), France and Belgium (147p) and Portugal and Italy (145p). Finland (142p) and Germany (140p), also have dearer petrol than the UK.

The cheapest eurozone petrol is to be found in Cyprus (112p a litre), while Estonia (115p), Slovenia (117p) and Luxembourg (120p) also have more driver-friendly prices. Those with diesel cars will be the main beneficiaries of a car-driving holiday on the continent, as all EU countries have lower diesel prices than the UK where pump prices currently average 140p a litre. Diesel is as cheap as 108p a litre in Luxembourg, while it is 117p in Spain, 130p in France and 134p in Italy.

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: “Contrary to the myth, the price of unleaded is even more exorbitant on the continent than here in the UK.

“For all the reported problems in the eurozone, the currency remains relatively strong against sterling, and that means UK drivers who have petrol-powered cars will need deep pockets when they get off the ferry or out of the Channel Tunnel.”

He went on: “Compared with the Eurozone countries, the UK is the only nation to have the same level of duty for both diesel and petrol. All other countries have a lower rate of duty for diesel than for petrol and this is reflected with the price of diesel being universally cheaper across the channel.”

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