Social media posts overestimate how much tax is on petrol and diesel

15 March 2022
What was claimed

£1 per litre of road fuel is taken in taxes.

Our verdict

This is too high in fuel duty and VAT. These account for between 80p and 90p per litre of fuel sold, depending on how much you pay for fuel.

A post shared over 8,000 times on Facebook claims that “the tax man takes £1 for every litre of fuel sold!” and calls for protests and motorway blockages.

We’ve fact checked claims like this recently, which have been shared in the wake of rising petrol and diesel prices in the UK. These in turn are linked to the ongoing war in Ukraine and the international sanctions that have been placed on Russia.

It’s not quite right to say as much as £1 per litre is taken by the government in taxes. At the moment petrol costs £1.60 per litre on average, 85p of which is fuel duty and VAT. Diesel costs £1.69 with 86p going to these direct taxes. In certain parts of the UK you could be paying around £1.90 per litre, about 90p of which would be fuel duty and VAT.

For this claim to be true, pump prices would need to reach close to £2.52 per litre at the pump, assuming fuel duty and VAT remain the same.

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%. 

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

These figures only look at direct taxes placed on fuel sales. We’ve discussed other taxes that could apply at different points on the supply chain before.

andreas160578 on Pixabay

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context because while road fuel prices are currently high, and so the tax take is higher than it has been, direct taxes don’t yet account for £1 per litre of fuel.

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