By Ian Lewis
UK motorists who use diesel see more of their money swallowed up by fuel duty than drivers in any other European country, new figures show.
The data shows that those whose cars use petrol pay less fuel tax than only motorists in Sweden, prompting the RAC Foundation to call for duty rates to be cut by Chancellor George Osborne.
The organisation says British motorists still face a huge fuel tax burden, despite duty being frozen for the past three years.
Its director, Professor Stephen Glaister, said: "We're only about two weeks away from the Budget and the Chancellor has made much of the fact that fuel duty has not risen for three years.
Third of income spent on running a vehicle
"However this has made little impact on the huge proportion of tax the UK's 36 million drivers pay on their fuel.
"The irony is that if you take tax out of the equation we actually have the fifth cheapest diesel in the EU and the second cheapest petrol.
"The oil companies and retailers are often blamed for soaring pump prices but these figures reveal that's not the whole picture.
"The poorest car owners now spending as much as a third of their income on buying and running a vehicle.
Fuel duty makes up 59% of diesel price
"And with a record number of people now commuting to work by car, there are plenty of reasons why the Chancellor should consider going beyond his promise to continue the fuel duty freeze and actually cut the rate further."
The figures show that duty makes up almost three-fifths (59%) of the price British motorists pay for diesel at the pumps.
When it comes to petrol, tax accounts for 61% of the price in the UK - lower only than the 62% forked out by Swedish drivers.
Fuel duty rates were found to be as low as 41 and 45% in Luxembourg and Bulgaria respectively.