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Petrol at the village garage
approaches £1 per litre
Filed 11 Sep 05
In the UK the cost of petrol and of diesel is
escalating. The situation may well get worse in the wake of the
Hurricane Katrina disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, when oil refineries
were severely disabled.
In rural communities a car is essential simply
to get about. Public transport is highly inefficient, and always
will be, on account of the relatively small population in rural
communities and the distances involved. When buses and trains do
run, its is from villages and townships to cities: not between villages
or townships, unless they happen to be on such a route. Even when
such buses and trains do run, the overall time to get from a rural
place of business or home to a town is likely to take inordinately
long. And how are you supposed to carry the goods that you want
to sell or purchase? And what if the nearest bus stop or station
is a few or many miles away?
The cost of petrol & diesel at
Perthshire on 12th September 2005
(to enlarge: Click Here)
photo ©Kimpton Graphics
The fuel companies charge extra in rural areas
as they pass on the cost of delivery according to the distance from
their depots or refineries.
But it is not just the cost of running a car that
is rising. Escalating fuel prices affect the cost of getting any
and all goods to rural areas, and to towns and cities. Hauliers
are having great difficulty in passing on the increased fuel charges
to their customers. In the UK, hauliers are already suffering much
higher road tax charges than their European counterparts. It is
therefore hardly surprising that the hauliers are greatly concerned
by the situation.
While most people are adversely affected by rising
petrol and diesel charges, the worst affected are those who work
and live in rural areas - as opposed to those using the countryside
as a dormitory, retirement base or as a playground.
The winners are the oil companies with their huge
profits and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who currently receives
some 65% of the fuel price in tax.
It was highly disingenuous of the Chancellor,
Gordon Brown, to be publicly stating that the answer was not a reduction
in tax, but that the oil companies should produce more oil and have
more refineries. He knows, as well as anyone, that to produce more
oil and to create more oil refineries must necessarily take years,
even if the red tape that the government puts in the way were to
The Chancellor's priorities clearly do not include
the rural economy. It could be that he is again placing disproportionate
emphasis on reducing carbon emissions by facilitating the reduction
in the consumption of oil, while damaging the economy in the process.
Or it could be that he is desperate to get more moneys into his
kitty, as the economy becomes increasingly shaky with ever more
dependence on the service industry.
But cast a glance across the Channel. The French
take much more interest in their rural economy and their hauliers.
The French have already devised ways of reducing the burden on those
who are most vulnerable to increased oil prices. Gordon Brown says
he is not going to do so. If felt necessary, he says that the government
will introduce a form of fuel rationing, and that any protests leading
to obstruction at refineries by hauliers or farmers who feel that
their livelihoods are threatened will be broken up.
Recommended further reading
James (2005). Director of National Institute of Economic and Social
Research says that "The UK would be better off without farming"
and that "Farmers get paid for nothing".
SEE SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL Homepage, filed 05 Jun 05,
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