THE Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) has just warned that we are rapidly heading for a petrol price of £7.40 a gallon, a catastrophe that will see food prices rocket, as will the price of every commodity that is transported by road, along with putting thousands of small businesses over the edge of the abyss into oblivion.
Fuel campaigners are warning that petrol prices will jump 4p per litre ‘in coming days’, while road hauliers have vowed that they will blockade the oil refineries, and bring the country to a halt, as their legitimate response to this crisis being imposed by speculators, in this case the huge oil monopolies.
The PRA Chairman Brian Madderson said yesterday: ‘The shock rise in wholesale costs is just one of the reasons why the Petrol Retailers’ Association (PRA) has been knocking on the door of the Office for Fair Trading (OFT), since this time last year, to demand a full investigation into the workings of the UK market for road fuel.’
He added: ‘Despite recent Arctic weather cutting fuel demand across northern Europe and refinery chiefs complaining at their glut of petrol capacity, wholesale costs have risen by a shock 5.00p per litre in just over four weeks since Christmas.’
Madderson continued, ‘Independent retailers have been soaking up this increase at the expense of already tight margins because they know how hard the motorist is squeezed. But the floodgates will have to open soon.’
Experian Catalyst figures show that daily average selling prices in the UK have risen by less than 1.00p per litre for both petrol and diesel since 1st January.
Current prices at 22/1/13 were 132.83p per litre for petrol and 140.40p per litre for diesel whereas the wholesale cost changes could see prices at the pump up another 4.00p per litre in coming days.
Madderson went on to say, ‘PRA’s formal complaint to the OFT in February 2012 has been supported by a growing posse of cross-party MPs . . .
‘We now need the new Chief Executive at the OFT, Clive Maxwell, to step out from the shadows and help consumers by conducting a full Market Study that will lift the veil of secrecy from the wholesale cost movements.
‘If fuel costs continue to rise as our sluggish economy and loss of AAA credit rating weaken the pound sterling against the US dollar, the Chancellor must abandon plans to increase duty from 1/9/13 when he presents his Spring Budget – householders and businesses will be hard pressed to cope with market fluctuations let alone more government tax intervention.’
Madderson continued: ‘Once again we are going to be accused of profiteering at the pumps when that is simply not true.’
The chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, Geoff Dunning, said increases in the cost of fuel affect the economy in two ways: ‘One is, obviously, for the person in the street when they’re buying fuel, they spend more on fuel and therefore can spend less on other things – on food, on clothes, on anything else – and the other effect is that the price of fuel affects the price of goods in the shop, because everything that’s delivered to the shop comes in a truck.’
There is only one way to prevent the oil speculators from strangling the economy, fleecing car and lorry drivers and pushing up food and other basic prices for every family, and it is not to appeal to the feeble Office for Fair Trading.
The trade unions must intervene to support any road hauliers blockade of the oil refineries with massive industrial action to bring down the coalition and bring in a workers government.
This will resolve the crisis by nationalising the oil industry, putting it under workers’ management, ending the stranglehold that the oil profiteers have on the economy and on the lives of ordinary people.