Fuel prices could rise even further

AS experts predict that fuel prices could soon hit £6 a gallon, local councillor, Michael Cook has said the new year increases have placed added pressure on a region where many people rely on their cars to get about.

Following the price hike in both petrol and diesel, that was brought about by the increases in VAT and fuel duty last week, drivers could soon be hit even harder after an oil spill in Alaska saw prices of oil on the world markets climb even higher.

Hauliers said they were already planning for a possible blockade in protest at prices, which have hit a fresh record every day since the turn of 2011.

According to latest figures, drivers in Eyemouth are currently getting the best deal for unleaded with an average price of 124.9p, while drivers in Duns are getting the best deal for diesel, paying an average of 127.9p.

At present, petrolprices.com suggests drivers in the Coldstream area are being hit the hardest at the pumps with an average price of 126.9p for unleaded and 131.9p for diesel.

The latter is very close to the current British average for diesel (132.05p) and Councillor Cook said that he wondered how people managed to afford to keep their cars running, particularly those who have relied on 4x4s to get about recently in light of the wintry weather.

He added with other costs rising at the same time, the Government needed to re-address their previous plans to install a fuel regulator.

He commented: “There’s no question that the increases pose a huge pressure for folk generally but most especially for people living in a rural area like ours.

“Frequently, there is no realistic alternative to four wheels. Indeed, cars were unable to get up Lamberton Moor for most of December. It’s been 4x4s and tractors for the most part. Not the cheapest form of travel.

“Petrol/diesel costs also need to be seen in a context of other increasing costs - of which heating oil is a highly significant example (quite apart from gas, electricity, and food).

“From about £0.40 a litre in the summer, I’m still waiting for the most recent bill for our heating oil (some of which I had to go and get direct from the depot) to come through to us, but I expect it to be around £0.70 per litre.

“How a pensioner living by themselves can stretch to filling their tank goodness knows!

“The present Government did raise the possibility of a fair fuel regulator shortly after coming to power, but I’ve heard no more on this, and agree that they should be encouraged to revisit this urgently.

“I think this is something members could reflect on and might be taken through links with local MPs and MSPs.

“It also strikes me as a little curious that the UK experienced protests over fuel prices at a time when the cost of unleaded was between £0.80 - £0.90 per litre.

“We’re now way beyond that, and the most recent increase is directly attributable to Government action.”