To fill up or not to fill up?

by Jun 11, 2012 No Comments

The UK government has a nice little quandary at the moment on what to do about petrol prices.

Chancellor George Osborne has been facing pressure from at least 40 MPs from across nine separate parties to scrap a proposed 3p-a-litre increase in prices this August.

Launched by the SNP and the FairFuel UK group, if successful it could trigger a vote in the House of Commons.

The reason for this pressure is obvious – in the last decade, fuel prices have been soaring. Once, the price of unleaded going above £1 a litre would have seen a ridiculous notion, now it is a distant memory and even when there is a temporary lull, it still costs the earth for many to fill up at the pump.

There have been attempts to hold this back, two years ago Osborne faced anger from the North Sea oil industry in particular when he set out surprise plans in his budget to pay for a freeze in prices by putting an extra levy on the offshore companies and there have been calls for a 5p-a-litre fuel discount scheme already launched in the Islands to be brought to the mainland as well.

There is an argument though that the more prices rise, the most incentive people have to leave their car at home, get on a bus, or even get the bike out of the shed. It is the same reason that bus lanes are seen as a way forward – people getting so sick of seeing that public transport glide past them while they are stuck in traffic that they sign up for a bus pass instead.

Sky-high prices though don’t just affect the lone commuter driving their gas-guzzling sports car, it has the knock-on effect of raising anything that relies on a truck to take it to its destination, and has put up the prices for taxi firms and bus companies. Not to mention the people who live in parts of Scotland where there really is no option other than getting the car out.

Neil Evans Neil Evans

Neil joined Holyrood as Environment Correspondent in 2012, covering issues including climate change, the rise in renewable energy and protecting Scotland's wildlife and natural environment. In 2013 he was named Best Journalist in the Scottish Green Energy...

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