Fuel duty changes to launch under new plans to help rural drivers save

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to back drivers living in rural areas by slashing fuel duty rates and providing extra help to those struggling with the cost of motoring.

Lib Dem Leader Sir Ed Davey has outlined new plans to help rural motorists who have been “clobbered” by the cost of living crisis with help when they fill up at the pumps.

Under new proposals, the Lib Dems would oversee a significant expansion of the Rural Fuel Duty Relief to 20 new areas.

As part of this, drivers in 20 areas across the UK would benefit from further cuts to fuel duty, saving motorists around 5p a litre at the pump.

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The new pledge would see 20 new areas benefit from cheaper fuel PA

Rural Fuel Duty Relief allows motorists living in rural areas to see lower pump prices, with research showing that these drivers spend an average of £800 more on fuel every year than those living in rural areas.

The scheme currently applies to only 21 areas across the country, including the Isles of Scilly, three postcode districts in England, and the Highlands and Orkney and Shetland in Scotland.

However, the Liberal Democrats have pledged to double the number of areas covered by the scheme, allowing drivers in 21 extra locations to benefit from cheaper rates.

Fuel retailers in these areas can apply for special relief of five pence per litre of petrol or diesel, helping drivers save when filling up.

A consultation from the Lib Dems could see the scheme expand to Devon, Cornwall and Cumbria in the South West, East Anglia, Yorkshire, Shropshire and Cumbria as areas that could potentially benefit.

Drivers in parts of rural Wales and rural Scotland could also benefit from the plans outlined by the Liberal Democrats, with £7million of additional funding being added to the existing £7million cost of the scheme.

A further pledge for drivers would see the long-awaited rollout of the PumpWatch scheme, helping motorists compare fuel prices in their local areas with retailers forced to lower prices amid tougher competition.

A similar scheme is already in place in Northern Ireland – namely the Consumer Council’s Fuel Price Checker – and has seen motorists benefit from far cheaper petrol and diesel rates compared to the rest of the UK.

Ed Davey

Sir Ed Davey has pledged to help motorists at the pumps


Sir Ed Davey, said: “People in rural areas have been clobbered by the cost of living crisis and the Conservatives have just not done enough to support them.

“We need a real rescue plan to support rural communities struggling with outrageous pump prices. The Conservatives have let the cost of living crisis hit rural communities hard.

“They have ignored Liberal Democrat calls to expand rural fuel duty relief, left roads to crumble and cut public transport options, including rural bus routes.”

He claimed the Lib Dems would stand up for rural communities which had been blighted by “chaos and neglect” at the hands of the Conservatives.


Petrol prices

Britons have been overcharged by major fuel retailers in recent years


It comes as the Lib Dems are positioning themselves as the party of local champions who will back all constituents with measures that will improve lives.

Data from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said drivers had been overcharged by around £900million in 2022 alone by greedy retailers and major supermarkets.


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