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Volatile Mid East Threatens Fuel Prices. Again.

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Volatile Mid East Threatens Fuel Prices. Again.

Geoff Maxted
September 1, 2013

Middle East
We are told that the UK economy is beginning to see the green shoots of recovery - and other similar clichés - and no sooner is this announced than the terrible events in the Middle East, specifically Syria this time, come to the fore.

Industry insiders who are supposed to know this stuff are saying that the civil war in Syria is going to have an adverse effect on the global price of oil which could rise as high as $150 per barrel. You will have already noticed the flaw in this statement as Syria is not an oil producing nation; but that doesn’t matter apparently.

With a sort of wearying inevitability, this news could not come at a worse time for the UK at least according to the Road Haulage Association. The Brent oil price is already gaining ground at the time of publishing this item and it can only be a matter of a few weeks before we see this reflected at our domestic pumps.

This is especially tough on our road haulage stalwarts. Many commercial users buy their fuel in bulk and are already seeing prices rise. With the very tight margins that hauliers have to work under it will come as no surprise to anyone that these increases will be passed on down the chain until they eventually reach the retail customer base.

In the more recent period the UK’s manufacturing base has shown some signs of recovery and this has been helped by a relative stability in fuel prices. This in turn helps the haulage industry do their bit to get the economy back on track. Now this.

It should be crystal clear now that if events around the world affect oil prices so profoundly (not to mention the profiteering on the world markets, but that‘s another story) then just maybe the issue of fuel duty should be finally addressed in some meaningful way.

Yes, there have been some freezing of duty and one token gesture of reduction that made this writer laugh out loud, but really this is just the government being seen to do something without actually doing anything much at all. It is time to end the speculation. The way to help the UK economy is for fuel duties to be reduced. It is no good waiting for global stability because it’s never going to happen. More price increases mean we will take one step forward and two steps back. In the end it is always the domestic retail customer that pays the ultimate price. Recent events have weakened the government’s credibility enormously. They could at least regain some kudos by giving the motorist a fair go.

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