fuel pump

Fair Fuel UK (FFUK) founder Howard Cox has said the campaign for a cut in fuel duty goes on, as new consumption figures revealed diesel demand continues to grow.

Commenting on provisional new figures released yesterday (27 March) by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which show demand for diesel still growing despite the UK’s high rate of duty, Cox told Motortransport.co.uk that continuing the campaign was “a no-brainer”.

Rejecting the suggestion that continuing high demand gave government carte blanche to leave fuel duty unchanged, he said: “Fuel is still too high, particularly diesel. It's a no-brainer to continue to lobby for a cut.

“We’ve got European elections in six or seven weeks, the party political conferences, the Autumn Statement, the next Budget and then the general election coming up, so we have 13 months of heavyweight lobbying ahead, as well as 140 MPs still supporting a 3p/litre cut.”

A poll of over 2,000 people by FFUK since the Budget suggests such a cut would have a more positive impact on people’s lives than a 1p reduction in income tax, a freeze on rail fares or the now-infamous decision to cut Bingo tax in half, he added.

Cox also denied the UK’s improving economy had rendered previous FFUK arguments that a cut would help boost GDP redundant. “The reason why the economy is doing better now is partly, as recognised recently by Bank of England governor Mark Carney, down to more stable and lower-priced fuel,” he stressed.

“If the Treasury thinks the issue has gone away, it is wrong,” added Cox. “They still take 60% in tax - and that’s the issue we’re fighting.”

According to the DECC, UK demand for diesel road fuel including biodiesel came to almost 7.04 billion litres in Q4 last year, leaving the total for 2013 up 2.3% at 26.95 billion litres. The figures confirm a long-term trend that has seen consumption of such fuel rise over 44% from its 1999 level of 18.7 billion litres.

Bulk deliveries accounted for almost 9.4 billion litres during the year – around 35% of the total and up 2.3% on 2012.

Demand for petrol, however, fell by 4.5% over the year to 17.95 billion litres, leaving total road fuels demand down by 0.3% during 2013 and down 3.3% since 1999.