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Relief for drivers as fuel duty frozen

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
The Prime Minister has announced fuel duty will be frozen for the ninth year in a row, just weeks after it was hinted drivers could be hit with a tax hike.

In a keynote speech at the Conservative party conference, Theresa May said the government will freeze fuel duty and scrap a proposed 2p a litre rise. It will remain at 57.95p per litre for both petrol and diesel.

The move comes after the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, suggested that the first fuel duty rise in years could be on the cards, as the freeze over the past eight years has already cost the Exchequer £46bn in revenues.

At the time, Hammond said that by April 2019, these freezes will have saved the average car driver £850 compared with the pre-2010 escalator, but given the £46bn hole in revenues, this is twice as much as being spent on all NHS nurses and doctors each year.

RAC fuel spokesperson, Simon Williams, said: “We are pleased the Prime Minister has listened to the RAC and millions of motorists by freezing fuel duty for another year. Drivers are currently paying the highest prices at the pumps for four years.

“While there is a silver lining in the form of no rise in fuel duty, darker clouds in the form of higher wholesale costs may well be passed on to drivers at the pumps imminently, so it would have been foolhardy for the Treasury to opt to punish drivers further.

“Motorists can breathe a sigh of relief for now, however it is a shame that each year motorists have to worry whether the government is about to hit them harder in their pockets.”

According to RAC Fuel Watch data, unleaded stood at an average 130.66p a litre in September, while diesel hit its highest rate since August 2014, at 134.41p a litre. The price of a barrel of oil climbed $6, taking it to $83.73 – the highest price in nearly four years.

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