Call me paranoid, but I reckon that there is a conspiracy afoot. We all know that petrol prices can fluctuate – because of market variations or the situation in a country thousands of miles from us – but the word ’fluctuate’ kind of indicates something that goes up and down. In the case of our fuel costs the ‘fluctuation’ is always up. I call that a constant and consistent rise. It seems to me that, really, this is due to the actions of speculators around the globe who are cashing in on our misery by making oil the most traded commodity ever, as much as it is due to the goings on in the world around us.
In July 2007 the average price of a litre of unleaded was 96.7p. In July 2011 the average was 135.6p, which in percentage terms would be … let me see … well anyway, that’s nearly a 40p increase in five years! That’s the equivalent of £1.76 a gallon. You might think that this isn’t too bad, in a sense; after all the price of everything goes up year on year anyway, but if you couple that with the way the world economy is squeezing us just now, when the pound in your pocket buys less and less on almost a daily basis, it starts to seem like a lot of money.
Earlier this year our beloved Chancellor graciously permitted a £0.01 reduction in the hydro-carbon duty rates on fuel prices. That’s ONE P! Overnight the price duly fell only to go straight back up again the next day as the price fluctuated upwards due to market forces etc, etc. The fact is that in the UK the actual cost of an average litre of unleaded is actually around 52p, give or take a bit. The rest is made up of duty and VAT. You can’t blame the oil companies all the time.
Meanwhile down at your local dealer real efforts are being made. Some manufacturers are offering free fuel. Citroen, for example will give you a prepaid MasterCard with 10000 miles worth of petrol value on it. That could be worth some £1500! Renault and Peugeot are making similar offers. That’s got to be a good deal and one that‘s worth investigating.
The present Administration has openly stated that in their opinion the motorist has been squeezed enough and yet they take no action. It‘s all talk. The UK and greater Europe urgently need growth in their economies and yet they fail to understand that by the simple expedient of reducing duty, business and commerce will be the better for it. This time the motor industry are the good guys. They are the ones making the effort to give us frugal engines, efficient cars and free fuel!
So, thankfully, I’m not being paranoid. As fast as we try to save money on our driving expenses someone somewhere is taking it back off us again. It’s one big conspiracy, I tell you!