Fuel duty and VAT adds about 80-90 pence per litre on petrol and diesel at the pump

11 March 2022
What was claimed

In early March 2022, the government makes over £1 per litre on the petrol and diesel sales at the pump in the UK.

Our verdict

It’s more like 80-90 pence per litre in fuel duty and VAT, depending on the station you buy at.

A post that’s been shared over 12,000 times on Facebook shows a photo of a petrol station with pump prices of 183.9 pence per litre regular unleaded and 189.9 for diesel. The post alongside it claims that “THE GOV'S EASY MAKING OVER £1 PER LITRE”. 

The photo is real and, at the time of writing, some petrol pumps are charging nearly £1.90 per litre, or even slightly more. But it’s not quite right to say the government makes this much out of it. 

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Pump prices are rising in the UK

The weeks since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have seen a rise in road fuel prices in the UK. As of 7 March, the estimated average pump price per litre in the UK was 152.95p for unleaded petrol and 158.56p for diesel, up about five and seven pence per litre since before the invasion on 24 February.

At the time of writing, those averages are likely to be even higher, and the highest prices are estimated to be 187.9p per litre for unleaded and 193.9p per litre for diesel in some parts of the country.

The photo being shared on Facebook is from the BP garage at Wetherby, near the A1M, which confirmed to us it had almost the same prices as in the photo at time of writing. 

The government currently takes 80-90 pence per litre in fuel duty and VAT

Fuel duty is 57.95p per litre when people buy petrol and diesel at the pump. On top of this, fuel is subject to VAT of 20%. 

So for consumers paying around £1.90 per litre at the pump (as is shown in this Facebook post for diesel), about 90p, not “over £1”, goes to the government in the form of fuel duty and VAT.

At the average price of around £1.53 for petrol currently, about 83 pence of that is fuel duty and VAT.

Additionally, the RAC calculates that environmental taxes and fees contribute roughly 0.7p to the pump price for a litre of fuel.  

Finally, we’ve looked at the direct government taxes placed on fuel sales, though other taxes may apply at other points along the supply chain, for example by raising the wholesale costs of fuel which petrol providers pay, or the costs of distributing that to forecourts.

Image courtesy of Michael Coghlan via Flickr

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