Once again from one end of Wales to the other, in urban in rural communities we are bracing ourselves for yet another increase in petrol prices as fuel campaigners have warned us about the possible 4p per litre rise in petrol prices. The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) has called for a “full review" of the wholesale fuel market. Motoring organisations and small business organisations have backed the call for a review and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is due to report on whether reductions in the price of crude oil are being passed on to drivers.
Over the last few months we have lived though a relative lull if not a slight drop in petrol prices. Ironically the relatively recent arctic weather resulted in a drop in the demand for fuel across northern Europe and oil refinery bosses began moaning about their glut of petrol capacity". Wholesale costs have however risen by 5p per litre in the four weeks since Christmas. Oil prices reached $147 a barrel before the recession in 2008, but dropped to around $100 a barrel (March 2011), the barrel price currently stands at around $113 (25th January 2013).
Plaid Cymru has long favoured the introduction of a fuel duty stabilizer mechanism to regulate tax on fuel in order to mitigate the effects of high prices at the pumps, and for a fuel duty regulator to cap the price of petrol at the pump when it rises too quickly. Wholesale oil prices will inevitably rise over the next few years as the world economy re-builds itself in the face of an increasing demand for oil and all of us will pay for higher fuel prices directly or indirectly.
Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd said:
"Since the beginning of the recession, fuel prices have been one of the main sources of rising inflation yet the Chancellor has failed to tackle this problem, instead choosing to introduce tax-cuts for the rich and slash payments for the elderly.
“Speculation that prices are set to rise by 4p a litre during the coming days is extremely worrying, particularly given the soaring costs of other essentials such as food and utilities.
"I am particularly concerned for rural communities in constituencies such as my own that are bearing the brunt of Government inaction on this issue. They are forced to spend significantly more on fuel than those in urban areas, and figures from the Office for National Statistics also show that poorer families spend more on their income on petrol than richer families.
"Plaid Cymru have been pushing for a genuine fuel duty stabiliser for the past decade. It is hugely disappointing to see that neither the Labour nor Conservative governments in London have agreed to this common sense idea. This must change without delay."