This afternoon, I paid £1.20 a litre for diesel. That's 5p more than when I filled up on Friday before heading home from Site, 200+ miles away. That's not even the worse price in Britain: there is a petrol station in Scotland that briefly charged £1.45/litre on Monday and is currently charging £1.33. Crude oil is over $120 a barrel, and Scotland's only oil refinery (Grangemouth) is closing down in preparation for a strike on Friday (it will take them several weeks to gear up again, even if the strike is cancelled).
On the radio, a somewhat confused oil industry analyst explained that the British are a bit more insulated from the global rise in oil prices because of our high tax/fuel duty regime. I still can't quite get my head around that one. His argument was that over 70p a litre goes to the Government in fuel duty, so we're used to paying higher prices and the proportionate increases in the prices we pay are, therefore, lower than in America. True, but that doesn't excuse the fact that diesel is over 20p/litre more expensive than this time last year!
Fact: our Government will increase duty by an extra 5p/litre this year; last year, they increased it by a similar sum. Seven and a half years ago, there were protests when diesel hit 84p and oil prices peaked. Back then, we were paying approximately 40p a litre duty, so it's increased by 75%.
Fact: The slice of the price of diesel/petrol that goes to the supplier hasn't changed much, even with the oil price rises. It used to be 30p/litre; now it's probably 33p.
Fact: Every litre of petrol/diesel purchased has VAT levied on top of the duty and whatever the supplier makes. That's an extra 17.5% tax on top of everything that we're already required to pay. This afternoon, I purchased an emergency* 6 litres of diesel for £7.19 and paid £1.07 of VAT. Ouch!
Do you see why I have a problem with that guy's argument?
Thank God I drive a fuel efficient car. I worked out the miles per gallon for last week's trip to Site - without altering my driving style, we managed 67 mpg! (In US gallons that's 56.7 mpg. Your gallon is 3.8 litres; ours is 4.5.)
- Pam (off to buy diesel from a cheaper petrol station)
* I had to go to an oil-major's petrol station, so only purchased enough to get me home/to Tesco, where I'll fill the tank tonight and collect my Clubcard points. Tesco, like most supermarkets, charges a couple **of pence less per litre than the oil-major chains.
** (Added later) I've just filled up. Only saved a penny per litre at the pump, but at least my Clubcard points will give me a penny refund on every Pound I've spent.