UK drivers face continental fuel price hike

UK drivers planning to take their cars to Europe during the holiday season, or to tour the continent in a rental car, will notice a considerable increase in the price of fuel compared to what they would have been charged last summer.

The warning for increased expense comes from the Post Office’s seventh annual report on Motoring on the Continent. According to the report, while pump prices for unleaded fuel in the UK have not been subject to an increase in the last 12 months, France has seen an increase of £0.07 per litre, and Spain’s increase is £0.09 per litre.

The price increase to UK drivers has come about mainly because of the pound’s devaluation against the euro over the last year, rather than any major direct increase in the price of continental fuel. In fact, the cost of unleaded fuel has actually fallen in the majority of the 18 countries that the Post Office surveyed, while diesel is cheaper in all bar four countries. However, the poorer exchange rate means that for every 1,000 miles of continental motoring on unleaded fuel, tourists will have to pay £19.00 more year-on-year, or £11.00 more if the travel is carried out in a diesel car.

18 countries were surveyed, and drivers will notice an increase of up to £0.12 per litre in 13 of them. Andorra and Luxembourg are the cheapest countries for UK travellers to buy fuel for the second year running.

A spokesman for Post Office Travel Money, Andrew Brown, commented, ‘The disparity between what motorists pay for diesel and for unleaded petrol in Europe is in marked contrast to the UK, where diesel has long been more expensive. This was just one of the anomalies we picked up in this year’s survey, another being a difference of up to 48p a litre in fuel costs across the eurozone.

‘It may not make sense for holidaymakers to plan big detours just a save a few pounds, but the higher price of motoring on the Continent this year means they should plan their routes carefully before setting out so they keep costs down.

‘One of the ways in which holiday motorists can keep fuel costs to a minimum is to detour off the motorways to fill up at a supermarket. Just like in the UK, these can be the cheapest places to buy fuel, whereas motorists are likely to find the highest prices on the main roads.’