i Editor's Letter: Decrease in fuel price


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The Independent Online


The poor folk here at i central are a pretty long-suffering bunch. Not only do they produce two newspapers a day to extremely high quality on tight deadlines and tiny budgets, but... they also have to listen to me bang on about all and sundry as I test out ideas for this column on them.

One of my – many – recent hobby horses is the price of fuel, and not just as a way of getting a little revenge on them all for being endlessly, mercilessly, (not to mention, nonsensically) teased about being a proud Toyota Prius driver.

I have been scrutinising our little daily graphic keenly as it reveals a price that has dropped from a peak this year of $128 a barrel to the current figure of just over $90, a 30 per cent fall.

The eagle-eyed among you may be forgiven for not having spotted a commensurate decrease in the price of fuel at your local Shell or BP. That's because it is unlikely that any significant savings have been passed on. To be fair, energy companies have a month-plus supply of fuel on hand at any time, and allowing for a delay in purchasing inventory and market price discrepancies, there is usually a one to two-month lag in their passing on of these savings to customers.

Well, that's being charitable to them. So, regardless of the latest Budget U-turn and the decision to forgo £1.5bn the Treasury was adamant it needed as recently as March, let's keep a watch on this for – shall we say, the beginning of September? Then, as thoughts turn to autumn heating and lighting bills, feel free to start reminding me about this column in the oh-so-unlikely event that prices have not been slashed. This, naive optimism lark. Tricky sometimes.