April 2008 Archives

The Times reports:

Noisy fuel price protests in central London
From Times Online April 29, 2008

Valerie Elliott, Consumer Editor

Ministers are being urged to offer emergency assistance to the UK's road haulage industry as fuel prices expect to pass the £5 a gallon mark today.

Some 250 hauliers staged a noisy protest through central London today over the cost of diesel, to reinforce the plea from the Road Haulage Association.

By chance, the protest coincided with news of record, £7bn quarterly profits from the BP and Royal Dutch Shell oil companies.

[...]

Organisers of the London rally, Transaction-2007, were delighted with the turnout of support from as far afield as the Midlands and mid-Wales.

The protest followed the 48-hour strike at the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland in a dispute over changes to pension policy.

A noisy and colourful cavalcade of 65 trucks lined Park Lane. One truck transporting a coffin to depict the demise of the haulage industry was due later to be escorted by protesters and police to the House Of Commons where a petition is to be handed to MPs

[...]
Roger King, chief executive of the RHA, addressing a rally at Marble Arch, called for a windfall tax on the leading oil companies and for cash to be reinvested to help hauliers.

[...]

He has already written to the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, urging him to defer again the 2p hike in duty planned for October. This had been due to be introduced in April but the Treasury responded to industry concerns.

"We want him to make clear now that the October increase will also be shelved," Mr King said.

The RHA is pressing Mr Darling and MPs to support an amendment to the Finance Bill being introduced in the Commons by Alex Salmond, Scottish First Minister, to appoint a fuel duty regulator.

Mr King said: "Every time oil rises by $2 a barrel, 1p in duty is added to a litre of fuel. The aim of the regulator would be to trigger a 1p reduction in duty every time the oil price rises to stabilise prices at the pumps."

[...]

The other thing that fuel protestors should do, is to give the Labour party a good kicking at the Local and Mayoral elections this Thursday May 1st 2008 - their politicians must not be allowed to shift the blame for the current fuel crisis away from themselves.

.

The Daily Mail reports on record petrol and diesal prices and panic buying caused by the Grangemouth refinery dispute:

Panic at the pumps: Soaring petrol prices and fuel rationing introduced to prevent garage droughts

By RAY MASSEY and PAUL SIMMS -
Last updated at 01:01am on 24th April 2008

Petrol prices around Britain are continuing to soar as the strike threat to supplies from one of our biggest oil refineries intensifies.

More than a quarter of filling stations have increased their unleaded prices and four out of ten have raised their diesel prices since the Grangemouth crisis began on Friday.

Talks at the oil refinery near Falkirk continued yesterday in the hope of averting a planned weekend strike which could lead to fuel shortages.

Britain's oil producers said there had already been some "panic-buying" on Sunday and Monday causing up to 100 filling stations to run out.

Demand for unleaded fuel has risen by 68 per cent, according to the UK Petroleum Industry Association, a trade body for the industry.

Demand for diesel was up 40 per cent, it added.

To protect supplies, some garages have introduced unofficial "rationing", limiting, limiting customers to £10 of fuel.

[...]

Petrol firms were yesterday accused of profiteering after fuel prices rose again across the country.

It now costs £8 more to fill up a typical family car than it did a year ago.

The big companies such as Shell and BP have denied the charge, insisting that prices are rising because of a volatile market.

Brendan McLoughlin, founder of the Aldershot-based website Petrol-Prices.com said: "There are examples of profiteering but they do stick out.

"Motorists must shop around and stay vigilant."

The website's price-watch tracker showed that nearly half of Shell stations (46.25 per cent) had recently increased the price of unleaded petrol, with 62.41 per cent increasing the cost of diesel.

Garages have been urged not to cash in on fears of fuel shortages if the strike at Grangemouth goes ahead.

The advice comes after a garage in Prime Minister Gordon Brown's own Kirkcaldy constituency in Fife was revealed to be charging £1.45 a litre for diesel on Monday, while unleaded petrol was at £1.25.

Yesterday, customers were limited to £10 worth of fuel each, with prices at £1.30 a litre for diesel and £1.20 for petrol.

Business Secretary John Hutton said that if the strike did go ahead, the Government would try to minimise disruption.

He added: "Everyone can help in this by just buying fuel as normal - buying extra causes problems which would otherwise not exist.

[...]

What exactly is the useless Labour Minister John Hutton going to do to "minimise disruption" ?

The BBC reports Yet Another Record Oil Price figure:

Oil price hits $113. 93 a barrel

The price of oil has hit a new record as problems with a US pipeline underscored concerns about supplies.

US light, sweet crude oil rose to $113.66 a barrel, a fresh peak, before falling back. Brent crude hit $111.85 a barrel in London, also a new record.

[...]

This is affecting transport, food and the cost of iving generally.

What exactly are Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Chancellor of thee Exchequer Alastair Darling doing about this then ? Their silence is deafening.


About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog attempts to draw public attention to, and to comment on, the Fuel Crisis caused by UK Government policy on energy i.e. petrol, diesel, LPG for use in vehicles, and for electricity generation, and the knock on effects on transport, food, domestic heating costs etc.

For a country with North Sea Oil and Gas,why are fuel prices so expensive in the United Kingdom ?

Most of the price for fuel that we pay is Tax to Her Majesty's Treasury, not directly anything to do with the world price of petroleum.

Is it really going to take blockades and protests in the streets again, like in 2000 under the Labour government, before the Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition Government listens to the people and abolishes the tax increases on fuel, which has reached over £1 £1.40 per litre of petrol in many areas ?

Or are they going to mismanage the Fuel Crisis, yet again, but this time invoke their Emergency Powers under the Civil Contingencies Act, or using the vast sureveillance powers of the state to snoop on peaceful protestors ?

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this blog, or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

info @ fuel-crisis.org.uk

If you want to send us something confidential, then you can use our PGP public encryption key

UK Fuel Price and Tax statistics

Various statistics on Fuel Prices and rates of Fuel Duty and VAT, are published by the misnamed Department of Energy and Climate Change:

Energy statistics: prices, where you "can download annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly statistics in Microsoft Excel 2000 format"

The Weekly Fuel Prices Table (.xls) is updated each Tuesday at 9.30 am.

Government Website Links

WriteToThem Identify and Contact your Member of Parliament, Members of the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament, European Parliament etc,

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister Tony Blair Gordon Brown gets David Cameron gets hundreds of thousands of letters and emails a year. It is possible to write to or email the Prime Minister, but do not expect him to actuually read your message, let alone respond to it personally.


Her Majesty's Treasury
Complain to Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown Alistair Darling George Osborne:
"Emails and letters for the Chancellor and his ministerial team come in the first instance into HM Treasury's Correspondence and Enquiry Unit and then are sent into the Chancellor's Private Office. All correspondence received is replied to, within 15 working days and so you will receive a response."

To email the Chancellor or the ministerial team, the address is:

ministers@ hm-treasury.gsi.gov.uk

and to send a letter the address is:

Rt Hon George Osborne MP,
Chancellor of the Exchequer,
HM Treasury,
1 Horse Guards Road,
LONDON SW1A 2HQ

You can also fax correspondence on:
020 7270 4580


Consumer Focus - the former Energy Watch independent watchdog for gas and electricity consumers has been amalgamted into Consumer Focus

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets - the regulator for Britain's gas and electricity industries.

Department of Energy and Climate Change

The Government Department which is supposed to be coming up with and implementing some sort of strategic Energy Policy for the United Kingdom, was shunted off in October 2008 into the newly created Department of Energy and Climate Change, to make way for the return of the twice disgraced Peter Mandleson's return to the Cabinet.

The useless Minister put in charge was Ed Miliband, the younger brother of the equally useless, yet ambitious, Foreign Secretary David Miliband (another example of NuLabour nepotism). - It turns out that both brothers were ambitious for power and Ed Miliband is now the Leader of the Labour party, which is proving to be as incompetent in regard to Energy Policy and Fuel Prices in Opposition, as it was when in power.

The lack of continuity of Ministers in charge of this department has continued under the Coalition, with the Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne resigning to clear his name of driving offence allegations.

The Ministerial team who might make announcements about Energy Policy, or who will be flying off at public expense, to international conferences etc. representing the UK, and who you might wish to write to or lobby in person, are:

So far, these Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government politicians have not been much of an improvement over their incompetent and authoritarian Labour predecessors.

DECC Contact Us web page.

Department of Energy and Climate Change
3 Whitehall Place
London
SW1A 2HD

General enquiries:
0300 060 4000
[standard national rate)

Email: correspondence@decc.gsi.gov.uk

"Enquiries from journalists should always be directed to the DECC Press Office, either as per the IPO Directory (White Book) or via the Enquiry Unit on 0300 060 4000. The out-of-hours number for urgent press enquiries is 020 7215 3505."

The top civil servant is the Permanent Secretary Moira Wallace
email: perm.sec@decc.gsi.gov.uk

The DECC Corporate Governance page list some more of the top civil servants and publishes reports about some of their foreign trips and expenses paid by th etax payer.

N.B. these do not reveal all the extremely rich Energy Company vested interest lobbying activity which obviously influences them more than the plight of the log suffering general public.

Protest Website Links

Fuel Tax Protest - low turnout protests in 2005

Farmers for Action some of the organisers of the fuel protests in 2000

Road Haulage Association

Fuelprotest.com online petition

Fuel Website Links

Automobile Association summary of UK and Oversease fuel prices

Rip-Off Britain

Fuel Industry Links

UK Petroleum Industry Association - made up of the 9 companies the main oil refineries in the UK.

UK Petroleum Industry Association Ltd,
Quality House
Quality Court Tel: 020 7269 7600
E-mail: info@ukpia.com
www.ukpia.com

BP Oil UK Ltd, Witan Gate House, 500/ 600 Witan Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 1ES
Tel: 01908 853000,
www.bp.com

ConocoPhillips, ConocoPhillips Centre, 2 Kingmaker Court, Warwick Technology Park, Warwick CV34 6DB
Tel: 01926 404000
www.conocophillips.co.uk

Esso UK Ltd, ExxonMobil House, Ermyn Way, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8UX
Tel: 01372 222000
www.exxonmobil.co.uk

Ineos Refining, INEOS Group Ltd., Hawkslease, Chapel Lane, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, SO43 7FG
Tel: 0238 0287067
www.ineosrefining.com

Murco Petroleum Ltd, 4 Beaconsfield Road, St.Albans, AL1 3RH
Tel: 01727 892400
www.murco.co.uk

Petroplus UK, St. Mark`s Court, Teesdale, Stockton-on-Tees, TS17 6QW
Tel: 01642 736101
www.petroplusholdings.co.uk

Shell UK Ltd, Shell Centre, York Road, London SE1 7NA
Tel: 020 7257 3000
www.shell.co.uk

ChevronTexaco Ltd, 1 Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf, London E14 4HA
Tel: 020 7719 3000
www.texaco.com

Total UK Ltd, 40 Clarendon Road, Watford WD1 2TQ
Tel: 01923 694000
www.total.com

Energy Networks Association represents the licensed gas and electricity transmission and distribution companies in the UK.

ENA member companies

Blog Links

Spy Blog - civil liberties, security, privacy, technology, legislation

Global Guerrillas - John Robb

NuLabour blog

ParliamentProtest.org.uk blog - opposition to the curtailment of peacefule demonstrations and protests around Parliament and Whitehall and beyond.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

The hints and tips below are just as important to anybody organising a peaceful Fuel Protest, as they are to other people who might come under UK Government or Multinational Corporation surveillance for their political activties.

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link: http://ht4w.co.uk

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