New rebate to cut petrol prices for rural drivers

Thousands of drivers living in rural areas could receive reductions on their fuel costs thanks to a new government rebate that has been approved by the European Commission.

The rebate, which is similar to a scheme already in use on the Scottish islands, is designed to prevent rural motorists paying premiums for fuel, and could save 5p off the cost of a litre of petrol.

According to the government, drivers living in remote areas of Devon, North Yorkshire, Cumbria and the Scottish Highlands will all qualify for the cost cuts, along with certain other parts of the country.

Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “As someone who comes from one of the most rural areas in the UK, I know that for people who live in these areas cars are a necessity, not a luxury.”

Under European law, the cuts are regarded as state aid and will therefore need to be approved in Brussels before it’s introduced, though the European Commission’s decision brings it one step closer.

Mr Alexander added: “I’m determined to implement the Rural Fuel Rebate in the current Parliament as part of this Government’s drive for a stronger economy and fairer society.

“While we have one more stage to go, I want to make sure we are ready to implement this as a top priority, so we will press for this to be heard as soon as possible and are today publishing the necessary draft regulations.”

In total, the 17 earmarked areas cover a total of 125,000 people who could benefit from the cuts, and the AA claims that any further reduction in prices could benefit the local economy hugely.

However, the RAC has warned that many drivers mightn’t see the reductions they’d hoped for, due to the fact that fuel prices in the countryside will always be more expensive than in urban areas.

The organisation noted that high delivery costs and the increased competition in towns and cities will always leave rural drivers facing higher costs than those in built-up areas.

Regardless, with fuel prices across the UK falling to their lowest point in years, drivers across the country are reaping the benefits of having a little extra change in their pockets to spend.

Along with cheaper fuel and more money to spend elsewhere, falling fuel prices will likely also mean reductions in the price of tyres, motor oil and other oil-derived products.