Diesel and petrol pumps

Petition calling for 40 per cent cut in fuel duty hits 100,000 signatures

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More than 100,000 people have signed a petition calling for further cuts to fuel duty. The milestone means the petition will now be considered for debate by MPs.

The petition calls for fuel duty and VAT on fuel to be slashed by 40 per cent for two years. Fuel retailers have been accused of failing to fully pass on the 5p per litre cut in fuel duty introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in last week's Spring Statement.

In theory, that cut represented a saving of 6p per litre because of its impact on VAT. However, the average price of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts has fallen by just 3.8p per litre.

Figures from data firm Experian Catalist show the average price per litre on Tuesday was 163.5p, compared with 167.3p on 22 March. The average price of diesel fell by 2.2p per litre over the same period, from 179.7p to 177.5p.

Rod Dennis, RAC fuel spokesman, said: “If the Treasury wasn’t aware of the strength of feeling when it comes to fuel prices before the Spring Statement, it certainly will be now. With fuel prices still some way off reflecting the full duty cut, it’s understandable that so many drivers remain disappointed when they come to fill up.

“There is now pressure on some retailers, to show that drivers really will benefit from the duty cut, and on the government, as to whether enough has been done to help drivers.”

Fuel duty was reduced from 57.95p per litre to 52.95p per litre until March next year. VAT continues to be charged at 20 per cent on the combined price of the product and the duty.

Questioned about the duty cut by radio station LBC last week, transport secretary Grant Shapps urged retailers to “absolutely pass this on”. He also advised motorists to “shop around”, so firms “learn that if they don’t pass this on, then they’re going to lose business”.

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which represents independent forecourts, wrote to the Cabinet minister on Tuesday, explaining that many of its members could not lower pump prices “immediately” as duty is charged on their wholesale purchases.

Gordon Balmer, director of the PRA, wrote: “The PRA understands why motorists are frustrated with high fuel prices. The government should have established in their announcement that any cut in fuel duty wouldn’t be immediately reflected in pump prices.

“Over the last few weeks, our members have been pricing fuel competitively despite market volatility. Many members are making negative margins, particularly on diesel.”

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