Monday, October 22

Petrol at £1.00 a litre

DieselMax - it recently broke the land speed record for a diesel vehicle

The price of petrol in Europe continues to astonish me. Today we saw our local Tesco supermarket selling fuel for 98.9 pence a litre (A$2.27). The average price in our area is currently sitting at 98.6 pence. I’ve read that local stations are charging up to 101.9 pence. Approximately 52% of this price is taken in duties and a further 15% in VAT (value-added tax). Only a quarter of the price at the pump represents the cost of the fuel itself.

As is the case in Australia, some of the duties are used to fund road and highway maintenance, while most disappears in the Government's consolidated fund. UK fuel taxes rocketed during the late 1990s when the former Conservative government introduced a “fuel escalator” designed to discourage private car use. Under this policy duties increase 3% above inflation annually. By the time the escalator was abandoned in 1999, taxes represented 81.5% of the retail price.

I guess we should be grateful that petrol is only £1.00 a litre in London. Last month a European-wide survey found the average fuel price was a staggering €1.60 a litre in Norway (£1.11). It's difficult to understand why petrol is so expensive in this Nordic nation given its extensive North Sea oil industry. My brother in Austria regularly tops up at a price of at least 80 pence (€1.15). The current price in Sydney is around A$1.25 a litre, a bargain 56 pence, while the USA average price is a stunning 38 pence. Thanks goodness for the Tube!

DieselMax broke the land speed on August 22 this year, reaching a speed of 350.092 mph (563.418 km/h). I saw the car on display at Vienna airport in early-June while enroute to Graz. I've yet to discover how this airport came to host such an unusual exhibit.

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