On the day that British petrol prices hit Â£1 per litre in some places, the news was made even more depressing by the gang of fuel lobbyists who caused such chaos back in 2000 threatening to do the whole thing again.
Having said that, the news may not be as black as it first seems. The US refineries closed by the hurricane are starting to reopen, bringing the cost of oil down to pre-storm levels, so hopefully prices will fall back accordingly at the pumps. Also, the support from the country for the protesters is not what it once was, whereas when the 2000 protest started many people backed them, a week of queues for petrol, and shortages of bread resulted in many turning against them. Indeed I remember at the time one person who backed the protest at the beginning of the week wishing that the government would send in the army “to shoot a few of the ****’s”!!! Certainly whenever the prospect of another protest comes up, almost everybody I know groans and hopes that the government is properly prepared this time. Indeed the collapse of the last attempted protest before the election in April produced this rather bitter statement from the Less Tax on Fuel site:
Fuel demonstrations that started at Stanlow, Milford Haven, Pembroke and Cardiff came to an abrupt end with many of the protesters leaving the demonstrations early and others who had pledged their support never turned up at all.
It seems that once again apathy has set in with many of us happy to pay over 90 pence a litre for Diesel, even hauliers that are being hit hard failed to make their voice heard at the demonstrations. LTOF however remain committed to campaigning for a public review on the unfair and unjust tax levied on our transport industry and general motorists.
It is also worth bearing in mind that unlike in 2000 where our fuel was significantly more taxed, and cost more than anywhere else, this time everybody around the world is feeling the pinch, indeed as I mentioned last week, our prices are no longer the highest in Europe. The BBC has a series of slides looking at a number of statistics related to the fuel price which make interesting reading. They also have an assesment of whether it could all happen again.
On a personal level, if it does kick off again, and fuel does end up in short supply, we’re much better able to cope than we were back then. The VW quite happily does 50mpg, and only needs to be filled once a week, unlike the Fiesta I had back in 2000 that needed a fill up twice in a week due to it’s tiny fuel tank. (Incidentally, it is worth noting that currently the diesel price is rising at a slower rate than the petrol price, so prices are almost the same as petrol now, saving me even more in comparison with what I was paying.) Whilst Beth’s car is not as economic as mine, she is significantly closer to her school than before, so can quite happily last more than two weeks on a tank. If we get really low on fuel, with the advent of cheap broadband, I am also able to work quite productively from home too. Having said that, all of those changes will be worth nothing if food supplies dry up again.
Anyway, here’s to a swift fall in fuel prices, and also no repeat of the blockades of September 2000.