The cost of filling a tank of petrol will shortly rise to record heights. Today there is an increase in fuel duty followed by a rise in vat to 20% on Tuesday.
In 1896 the Marquess of Salisbury put 9d on a gallon of petrol, no fuel duty existed then , it was introduced in 1909 by the Liberal government. By 1919 the price of petrol rose but duty was abolished, then replaced by vehicle taxation. The tax disc was introduced, and this was based on the horsepower of the vehicle.
It was the Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George who replaced fuel duty with road tax. In 1929 fuel duty returned under the Conservative government of Stanley Baldwin making a gallon of fuel cost 1s.6 3/4d. Under the first Labour government of Prime Minister Ramsay McDonald fuel duty rocketed to 45% where it remained until the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher. It stayed virtually unchanged until John Major's premiership when the increase gathered pace and rose to 70% plus. The increase in fuel tax led to serious protests in 2000, 2005 and 2007, and in 2008 UK tax rates were one of the highest in Europe.
Government revenue raised from fuel duty in 2009 was £25,894 billion plus £3,884 billion being raised from vat on the duty! Jet fuel is exempt from duty, and there is a rebate system for bus service operators, agricultural and construction vehicles.
Successive governments have used the people's need and strong desire to use the motor car to squeeze and squeeze for more tax. The general public are an easy sitting target because it is almost impossible to live life now without a motor car due to totally inadequate public transport.