London, 10 Apr 2002.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

ABD Call for Cuts in Fuel Tax as Traffic Growth Falls by 40%
As fuel prices rise again following developments in the middle east, the ABD reminds Chancellor Gordon Brown that fuel prices in the UK are already way above those in every European country bar one, due to the excessive taxation which sees over 80 per cent of the price at the pumps being taken as tax with very little being re-invested in transport.

Of course, the government's favoured anti-car advisory groups will say that prices must remain high to discourage car use. The government's own figures show however that it is a fallacy to believe that fuel prices have any effect upon traffic growth. Last year pump prices fell by around 20%. During this period underlying traffic growth FELL to 1.2%*. This represents a 40% decrease from the 2% growth of the previous year and during each year of the fuel tax escalator!

ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries said:

"The only people affected by high fuel taxes are the poorest members of society, usually those who need their car the most, living where there are no alternatives. The UK has the second most expensive unleaded fuel in Europe and by far the most expensive diesel (Source Ceefax). Even if the chancellor were to cut 8p from the price of a litre in the budget we would still have the third highest unleaded fuel prices. Gordon Brown should cut taxes by at least this much to help the worst off drivers and to keep UK businesses competitive. Britain has the highest tax take from the motorist, yet we have by far the worst roads in Europe."

* Quoted from the DTLR's Transport Statistics bulletin - Traffic In Great Britain Q4 2001 Data:
"The rate of motor vehicle traffic growth has varied in recent years. Between 1985 and 1990 it grew rapidly, by over 6% per year on average. Traffic growth then slowed to less than 1% per year between 1990 and 1994, before rising to about 2% per year between 1994 and 2000. BETWEEN 2000 AND 2001 IT INCREASED BY 1.2%. It is estimated that this is also the underlying rate, after the effects of special factors, such as the September fuel protests and foot and mouth disease in 2001 are removed"


Notes for Editors