Fuel prices in the United Kingdom have fluctuated wildly over the last couple of years. Private drivers and professional haulers alike have suffered from the significant financial knock-on effects of fuel price hikes. While most people will have a vague idea of the factors that influence these changes in price, it is worth getting to know them in detail so that plans can be made in advance of any more rises in the cost of petrol and diesel. Here are some of the main factors that are influencing the price of fuel in the United Kingdom. If your fleet regularly travels through or around the UK, it is important to be aware of the following.
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Delays (Or Greed)
British drivers are paying record prices for fuel at the moment – some of the highest prices since the OPEC crisis of the 1970s bought roads to a standstill. Interestingly, the price of wholesale petrol is actually lower than it has been for years despite the factors mentioned in this article. Why, then, are people still paying more at the pumps? Fuel retailers have blamed a delay between the drop in wholesale price and the amount that companies are asked to pay for retail-ready fuels. Some commentators, however, have blamed greed on the part of the retailing companies. Shell, for instance, has posted record profits this year without seeing any reason to drop average retail prices for petrol and diesel.
The War In Ukraine
Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, which has had huge long-term effects on the world. Both Russia and Ukraine are major producers and exporters of fossil fuels. For this reason, the war has created massive instability in the market, which has an impact on domestic fuel prices worldwide.
The lockdowns bought in to help manage the impact of Covid-19 had a big impact on the fuel markets. The usual balance of supply and demand were disrupted as people stayed home – despite petrol being produced at the same rate it was before. This led to a severe dip followed by a sharp rise in prices. Everyone will feel the impact of the Covid-19 crisis for many years to come. Companies with fleets of vehicles have found that profit margins have tightened, yours included. The good news is that you can compare fuel cards and other prepayment methods for their vehicles and get the best deals on being able to pay for your fuel while in the UK and beyond.
In the run-up to the EU referendum, prominent ‘Brexiteers’ promised voters that fuel prices would be lower if the UK left the single market. It would be possible, they said, to lower fuel taxation in a post-EU Britain. Unfortunately, these people were wrong. Britain’s lack of single-market membership has led to a less stable domestic fuel market, which is more susceptible to fluctuating prices. We will never know how earnestly people like George Osborne believed in the promises made in the run-up to the referendum. What we do know, however, is that most of them were unmistakably bogus.