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Diesel owners could be better off filling up on continent despite sterling slump

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The hundreds of thousands of UK diesel car owners driving to Europe during the school holidays could still be better off filling up on the continent despite the slump in sterling, experts said.

The pound has plummeted more than 8% against the euro since the EU referendum, falling from 1.31 euros to 1.18.

But a study by motoring research charity the RAC Foundation found that the rate of duty charged on diesel in the UK means it is still cheaper to use filling stations abroad.

The UK has the most expensive diesel of all 28 EU member states at an average of £1.13 per litre, according to the report.

Prices in other EU countries are on average 6% cheaper in sterling terms, which is equivalent to around 6p per litre (ppl).

A number of popular driving destinations have lower diesel costs than the UK, such as France (94ppl), Germany (92ppl) and Spain (87ppl).

UK fuel prices have remained stable since the Brexit vote as the decline in the price of oil has offset the weakening of the pound against the dollar, which is the currency that oil is traded in.

The average price of petrol in the UK is £1.12 per litre, making it the eighth most expensive in the EU.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “Talk of fuel prices going through the roof in the wake of a Brexit vote have proved to be fanciful with UK pump prices at essentially the same level they were before the vote.

“What might surprise drivers is that even allowing for the slump in the value of sterling they might still be better off buying diesel on the continent.

“The key message is that pump prices are determined by a whole host of factors. The exchange rate is one of them. The price of oil is another. But taxation is perhaps the most important of all.

“Before tax the UK actually has only the 22nd most expensive petrol in the 28 member states of the EU. With tax we jump to eighth in the league table. For diesel the UK is 23rd before tax, but we soar to the top of the list once tax is added.”

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