There has been a continual rise in fuel costs despite the actual price per barrel decreasing. Many are furious that petrol stations have not lowered their prices but instead keep prices either stagnant or raised. This is bad enough for those hard working families who are already strapped for cash, but for fleet owners the pressure is getting too much to bare. What with the worry of exhaust theft, increases in van insurance premiums, tougher parking laws and the possibility of a pay-as-you-go road tax, profits are really being squeezed.
Unfair pump prices
From July to August this year, there was shown to be an increase of 2.5% in fuel prices and whilst Brent Crude fell from $120 per barrel in March to $90 per barrel in June this year, we barely saw this translate into lower forecourt prices.
The economic conundrum
The value of petrol underpins many economic aspects and increases like these are not only costly for drivers but filter down to affect everyone, whether increasing goods prices or affecting wages. There is also a case to be had for higher fuel prices making the UK less competitive globally. France has tried to tackle this by artificially lowering fuel prices at a cost of €300 million which, it is estimated shall be recuperated in the long term.
The true cost
Filling up an HGV now costs a record amount with diesel prices having risen the most. The Freight Transport Association had already announced in June prior to the rise that the cost of running a fleet was at a record high. The cost of diesel now accounts for 40% of annual operating costs as opposed to around 33% only three years ago. This is in conjunction with already decreasing demand in goods transportation leading to many fleets closing all together.
There have been some measures taking place in an attempt to curb the spiraling cost of fuel. The Office of Fair Trading has begun an investigation to see if there are competition issues. It could be that there has been an unfair monopoly on the fuel supply or even a case of price fixing. Another option is to stop the fuel duty rises of which the majority of fuel costs comprise of.