UK diesel 'most costly after tax'
UK diesel prices are the cheapest in western Europe before tax is added, Government figures revealed.
But once taxes are imposed on the fuel, the average price at the pump is higher than any other European Union country.
The figures show taxes made up 58% of the total price in April - the highest in Europe - raising the cost from an average 48.8p a litre to 116.6p.
Pre-tax unleaded prices for April were the third-lowest of all EU states, at 41.2p a litre, but after tax and duty the 107.6p cost meant 18 other EU countries had cheaper petrol.
The 62% tax share on unleaded was the third-highest out of all EU member states, the quarterly Energy Trends and Prices statistics produced by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform revealed.
The high cost of fuel led to angry hauliers driving a convoy of lorries to London in protest this week, and Chancellor Alistair Darling is under pressure to scrap a 2p rise in duty planned for October.
Shadow treasury chief secretary Philip Hammond seized on the figures to blame Prime Minister Gordon Brown for high pump prices.
He also attacked controversial plans to restructure vehicle excise duty, which could see drivers of less efficient older cars facing a big tax hike next year.
Mr Hammond said: "Gordon Brown's claim that world oil prices are to blame for the soaring cost of motoring has been exposed as a sham. The blame lies squarely with him, and because his Government has run out of money, instead of helping hard-pressed motorists he is hitting them yet again with a massive hike in road tax. When will he get the message that people have had enough?"
A Treasury spokesman insisted that the UK was generally a low-tax economy compared with other EU states.