Spiralling fuel prices could bring UK to a standstill, warns The Fuelcard Company
According to the AA, as oil prices break through the $90 a barrel barrier, fuel prices have today reached a new record high of 122 pence per litre. And although diesel is still some way off its all-time record high, prices have risen 3.12p a litre over the last four weeks, with diesel now costing an average 126.19ppl.
With the International Energy Agency predicting demand for oil will rise over the next few months, partly due to the cold weather, City analysts believe the price will top $100 a barrel within months. And with fuel duty and VAT rises scheduled for January, fuel prices are set to rise further still.
As a result, organisers of the fuel strikes in 2000 have warned similar protest action could be on the cards in 2011.
'The fleet industry simply can't sustain such massive increases to the day-to-day running of their businesses,' warned Jakes de Kock, The Fuelcard Company marketing director. 'Fleet managers feel let down by a Government that pledged a fuel stabiliser scheme, to protect them by reducing tax if oil prices rose sharply, which has failed to materialise. They feel it's time they take action into their own hands.'
The September 2000 fuel protests saw fuel refineries and distribution depots blockaded and, within days, created a fuel crisis that paralysed the UK's critical infrastructure bringing the country to a virtual halt. The financial impact of the week-long fuel drought was estimated at close to £1 billion.
'The impact of such strikes will resonate across the entire UK economy – the price of fuel doesn't just hit British hauliers, it also hits UK competitiveness and raises the price of everything we buy in the shops. The rise in fuel cost will see the price of everyday goods rise steeply, fresh food become scarce and many jobs could be lost. The UK could come to a total standstill,' continued Mr de Kock.
As a result, the Fuelcard Company is urging the Government to reconsider its introduction of additional fuel duty and identify ways to assist the UK's hard-pressed fleet industry before it's too late. Earlier this year the company introduced a petition calling on the Government to lower fuel tax, or freeze it at its current level, before the UK fleet industry suffers irreparable damage. Results of the petition will be presented to Government in 2011.
To sign up to the petition visit www.fuelcardroadshow.co.uk