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Petrol prices in Highland among top ten least affordable relative to earnings

By Niall Harkiss

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Highland is among the top ten areas in Scotland with the least affordable fuel relative to earnings
Highland is among the top ten areas in Scotland with the least affordable fuel relative to earnings

Motorists in Highland are facing an uphill battle when it comes to affordability of fuel relative to their earnings, according to a new report.

Following the Chancellor's announcement in last week’s Spring statement that fuel duty has been cut by 5p per litre, experts have revealed that residents of Highland are among the top ten areas with access to the least affordable fuel in Scotland, ranked 9th overall.

For drivers in the county, filling up with a 55-litre tank of petrol (£86.57) will account for 17.53% of the typical weekly wage (£493.80) for the area.

The research, by financial comparison website Forbes Advisor, used data from the Office for National Statistics and Petrol Map (a live petrol price tracking website, which records fuel prices in every town and city of the UK).

The objective was to compare the average weekly wage in every local authority in Scotland with its average cost of a 55-litre tank of petrol to uncover the areas worst hit by soaring petrol prices.

East Dunbartonshire has Scotland’s most affordable petrol, with a full tank (£83.71) costing residents 13.53% (£618.60) of their weekly wage.

The Shetland Islands is third on Scotland’s list of places with the most affordable petrol, with residents spending 14.43% of their weekly wage (£580.20) on fuel. This compares to the Scottish average of 17.01%.

In comparison, residents of Angus - the area with Scotland’s least affordable petrol - spend almost a fifth (19.4%) of their weekly wage (£459) on a tank of petrol (£89.21), above the Scottish average of 17.01%. This makes them the hardest hit in Scotland by high fuel prices, despite the 5p a litre cut in fuel duty.

Dumfries and Galloway has the second least affordable petrol in Scotland after Angus, with residents paying 19.43% of their weekly wage (£459) towards a tank of petrol (£89.21).

Moray is third on the list of Scottish areas with the least affordable petrol, with a 55-litre tank (£84.42) consuming 19.21% of the average weekly wage (£439.50) in the area.

Kevin Pratt, personal finance spokesperson at Forbes Advisor, said: "While some areas of Scotland such as East Renfrewshire are benefitting from relatively affordable fuel prices, the fact that a tank of petrol is consuming over 19% of weekly wages in some areas of Scotland is deeply concerning.

"There’s a perfect storm of rising prices brewing at the moment which threatens to push people across Scotland towards genuine, deep financial hardship.

"Not just petrol, but gas and electricity bills, the cost of the weekly shop and services like mobile phones and broadband are just some of the bills that are rocketing upwards in an era of steepling inflation.

"This Friday (April 1) sees the latest hike in the domestic energy price cap. It is forecast to rise again sharply next October, when typical households could be facing annual bills of £2500 - double what they are today.

"And let’s not forget that the cut in fuel duty is only temporary. If it is reinstated in 12 months, as planned, it will heap yet more unwelcome pressure on household budgets that are already stretched to - and in some cases beyond - breaking point.”

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