So, it’s official, then. The UK is the highest taxed nation in Europe on fuel. This is something that many people, business owners and the man on the street alike, have often suspected but, according to the latest findings in a report hailing from the offices of ECOB, the European Commission Oil Bulletin, commercial drivers in the UK are paying at least ten percent more tax on diesel than anywhere else on the continent.
This will anger organisations with large fleets who may have strived to cut costs by economising on their vehicles or making extra efforts to source the cheapest van insurance, only to have those efforts negated by the EU commission’s findings. It is no wonder the government decided to hold back on the fuel levy they hoped to introduce in January, but what will it mean for the ones planned and imposed after this latest news.
This announcement comes only days after the government rocked businesses everywhere by announcing that the threshold for company car emission for qualification for the lowest bracket for company car tax would be 99g/km CO2 emissions, a reduction of more than twenty percent from 120g/km, a figure that car and van manufacturers have been working towards to service the fleet market for some time. Thus, proving it is even more imperative for drivers to secure cheap van insurance if they are to have any hope of keeping within budgets for the remainder of 2012.
Considered driving will save on fuel costs and van insurance
Even the Tory MPs are now revolting against the revelations revealed in this latest report. Phil Davies, one such Member of Parliament for the Conservatives, reminded the PM that fuel duty was already ‘too high’ and that ‘hard-pressed families’ were going to struggle to meet the new demands made on them to keep their cars on the roads. He likened this latest news to a ‘kick in the teeth’ for the UK population and hinted that public spending, not low taxes, had been the root cause of our economic misfortune.
The one bit of advice for van drivers to combat the rise in fuel prices, reaching £1.50/litre in Coventry for the first time this week, is that safer driving can lead to cheaper van insurance. By keeping top speeds down, fuel consumption can run closer to the optimum level. Domestic car drivers have already seen reduced accident rates on UK roads due to this extra care; as van drivers statistically are the safest drivers on the road, by incorporating fuel-efficient driving into their day-to-day driving habits, they should have no issue in retaining their no claims bonus, therefore reducing the cost of their van insurance quotes by the additional discounts this brings with it.
As a comparison in fuel duty to our European neighbours, whereas we are paying 60% and 58% duty for unleaded and diesel respectively, French and German drivers pay below 50% duty. If you travel to Luxembourg, the rate there is only 38% duty. And if you’re sensitive to harsh reality, look away now. According to one recent survey, without fuel duty, the price for a litre of diesel would be £0.60, not the £1.50 we are now seeing. Sorry if that offended you; you’re not alone.