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Put a jumper on

27 October 2011 No Comment

I seem to be writing about oil as much as about new cars at the moment. But then there is a lot of pressure on the motoring economy generally, by which I mean the total picture of motoring, the fuel bills, the tax and the cost of new car repairs. Gone are the days when motoring was a carefree practise and all you had to think about were the open road.

Nowadays you have to watch your bills and shop around for savings of a few pence per litre. You have to think about your new car choice in terms of warranty, which will save you money in thge long term. Or the immediate savings you might accrue by going for a more fuel efficient and less polluting vehicle.

Gone are glamour and essential liberty of motoring. I wanted to climb in Wales this weekend gone but the prospect of a £120+ round trip trampled all over any ideas of spontanaeity.

The car has become a forum for us to battle the marco economic forces whiich threaten to curtail our mobility and drive us all back to dreaded localism.

With this comes the risk of becoming a slave to capitalism. And it’s not just in the motoring sector that this new slavery is beginning to take shape. Recently the governement advised that the best way to combat rising energy prices was to shop around – you can invariably save money by switching suppliers on a regular basis. The other helpful bit of advice was to use less fuel – put another jumper on effectively – and this advice seems a little false. Who wants to spend time poring over price comparison figures and waiting in cues for energy company telecentres?

The days of thoughtless consumption are over.

And nowhere is this better signalled than by the rise in fuel prices over the past year. New figures from the AA suggests that summer 2011 fuel prices, when compared to the same time in 2010, were on average 17.5p per litre higher for petrol and 19.7p higher for diesel. Put another way, a family supporting two cars would typically have spent an extra £241 over the summer. Commercial drivers filling an 80 litre van can expect to pay on average £15.76 extra each time!

And with Januaray heralding the arrival of a 3p per litre increase in fuel duty the pressure on motorists is only likely to rise. Add to this a further 3p per litre due to 5.6% inflation and motorinsts are in for a minimum of 7p increase in fuel prices over the course of the coming year.

This comes at a time where both BP and Shell announce extraordinary profits of nearly £10 billion and £7.2 billion respectively.

It’s hard to know how they can keep a straight face whilst the rest of us struggle to pay our bills.