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Motoring

Petrol hits new record high of 142.94p

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The average price of petrol hit a new record high of 142.94p yesterday (Sunday 24 October), exceeding the 142.48p a litre all-time peak reached on 16 April 2012.

RAC Fuel Watch data shows the price of unleaded has rocketed by 28p a litre in a year from 114.5p in October 2020, adding £15 to the cost of filling up a 55-litre family car (£63 to £78.61).

Diesel is also closing in on a new record with the average now standing at 146.50p, just 1.5p off the high of 147.93p, also from April 2012.

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The dramatic hike has been driven primarily by the oil price doubling from around $40 a barrel a year ago to $85 now – but some analysts predict it could hit $90 by the end of the year.

While the jump in the price of oil is main reason for the new record pump price it is not the only factor. September’s switch to greener E10 petrol has also played a part, as has the margin retailers are taking on every litre sold which is now greater than it was prior to the start of the pandemic.

On 1 September the bio content of unleaded increased from 5% ethanol to 10%, and as ethanol is more expensive than petrol, it added around a penny a litre to the cost on the forecourt. The bio element of a litre now accounts for 8.5p of the cost prior to VAT in comparison to the pure petrol cost which equates to around 41p. This could easily rise still further as the price of ethanol has gone up by 52% since E10 was introduced.

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Duty at 57.95p a litre still exceeds the combined bio and petrol components which amount to around 50p. VAT currently equates to nearly 24p, but this is applied on top of all other elements of the petrol price including duty and retailer margin.

Since April 2020 retailers have increased their average margin on a litre by 2p from around 5.5p to 7.5p a litre. With volumes sold at the pumps plummeting during the first UK lockdown and remaining lower subsequently retailers, particularly the smaller independent ones, are trying to balance the books.

What makes up the cost of a litre of unleaded?

The cost of a litre of petrol in pence per litrePence per litre
Cost of oil41.79
Bio content (10%) – E109.21
Delivery & oil company1.70
Retailer margin8.59
Fuel duty57.95
VAT23.69
Retail price142.94
Tax cost81.64
Tax as % of average retail price57%
(Table: RAC)

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “This is truly a dark day for drivers, and one which we hoped we wouldn’t see again after the high prices of April 2012. This will hurt many household budgets and no doubt have knock-on implications for the wider economy.

“The big question now is: where will it stop and what price will petrol hit? If oil gets to $100 a barrel, we could very easily see the average price climb to 150p a litre.

“Even though many people aren’t driving as much as they have in the past due to the pandemic, drivers tell us they are just as reliant on their cars, and many simply don’t have a choice but to drive. Those on lower incomes who have to drive to work will seriously struggle to find the extra money for the petrol they so badly need.

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“We urge the Government to help ease the burden at the pumps by temporarily reducing VAT and for the biggest retailers to bring the amount they make on every litre of petrol back down to the level it was prior to the pandemic.”

The average price of super unleaded is now at 154.58p a litre, drastically increasing costs for drivers whose cars are not compatible with new higher bio content E10 petrol introduced in September which contains 10% ethanol. These drivers therefore have no choice but to use E5 petrol which is now only available at the super unleaded grade.

Comparison between 2012 and 2021

While the price of petrol at the pumps may be the same now as in 2012, there are several major differences in their make-up.

In 2012 oil was $117 while now it is 28% less at around $85. The exchange rate, which is important as fuel – like oil – is traded in dollars, is 13% lower today at $1.38 than it was in 2012 at $1.58 which means fuel is more expensive to buy on the wholesale market.

The price of ethanol is also 80% higher than nine and a half years ago at £606 a tonne compared to just £304 in 2012 – and, of course, up to 10% of petrol is now made up of the biofuel, in contrast to 5% in 2012.

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Retailer margin was also lower in 2012 at around 3.5p compared to 8p now. Fortunately, duty remains the same at 57.95p a litre and VAT is also still charged at 20% on the final transaction at the forecourt.

Simon Williams added: “We’re lucky the oil price isn’t as high as 2012 as we’d be paying even more at the pumps if it was, as the exchange rate is 13% lower which means wholesale fuel costs more for retailers to buy in.

“On the other side of the coin, unleaded now includes 5% more bio content and ethanol is far more expensive than petrol.

“But, even taking that into account, the petrol element of the price is still around 5p a litre cheaper than it was nine and a half years ago which points to the increased retailer margin now being taken.”

(Lead image: RAC)

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Education

“Stuck in a catch-22”: parents drive their children to school because they are concerned about traffic

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New polling data released for Living Streets’ Walk to School Week (16-20 May 2022) finds that traffic is one of the biggest barriers to children walking to school, with 17 per cent of parents in Wales naming it as a reason their child doesn’t walk.

With over 460,000 pupils in Wales, it would mean tens of thousands of them are being denied the physical and social health benefits of being more active.

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Schools being too far away from home (18%) and cars parked on pavements (17%) were also barriers for Welsh parents.

The latest data suggests just 50 per cent of primary school aged children in Wales walk to school.

Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive, Living Streets said: “We’re stuck in a catch-22 where families see driving to school as the safest way to protect their children from traffic.

“Leaving the car at home will reduce chaos and road danger around the school gates. It’s also a great way for children to learn about road safety in a real life setting and build their confidence in managing risk.

“Walk to School Week is an excellent opportunity for families to give walking to school a go and reap the health and social benefits of moving more.”

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Living Streets works with schools, local authorities and parent groups to help improve the walk to school.

Stephen Edwards continues: “We want to enable as well as encourage more families to walk to school. We’re here to help parents who are worried about safety around their child’s school. Car-free zones, 20mph limits and better crossings can all help make the walk to school safer and we’re here to help people campaign for them in their area.”

For more information on Living Streets’ walk to school campaign, visit livingstreets.org.uk/WalkToSchool

(Lead image: Shutterstock)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Motoring

Revealed: Swansea is one of the UK’s worst cities for road rage – although not as bad as Cardiff

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Swansea has been revealed as the 9th worst place in England and Wales for road rage according to new research.

The city saw 51 instances of recorded road rage in the last year.

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The Road Rage Index, was compiled by specialist car group Motorfinity, which sent Freedom of Information requests to police forces across the country.

Drivers in Swansea also had 15 cases of dangerous driving.

Cardiff topped the list, with 301 instances of drivers ranting at other road users in the city, followed by Leicester at 291.

A combined figure of 240 incidents puts Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton in third place.

Meanwhile, both Lancaster and Preston had 191 reports of road rage between them that attracted the attention of police, while Leeds had 108.

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Police forces for Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton, and Lancaster and Preston were only able to provide the data when grouped with the other cities.

With 32 million motorists vying for space on British roads, it’s little surprise that things get heated. In fact, it’s claimed that more than half of the UK’s drivers admit to sometimes suffering from road rage whilst they’re driving.

Top 10 cities with the most road rage incidents

CityRoad rage incidents in 2021
1Cardiff301
2Leicester291
3Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton (combined)240
4Lancaster and Preston (combined)191
5Leeds108
6Sheffield79
7Bradford68
8Derby51
9Swansea51
10Hull49

As part of the research, Motorfinity also asked police forces for the number of counts of dangerous driving incidents, of which the city of Oxford came first with 480 counts, followed by 363 for Bradford.

Top five cities with the most dangerous driving incidents

CityDangerous driving incidents in 2021
1Oxford480
2Bradford363
3Leeds321
4Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton (combined)178
5Newport121

Motorfinity CEO Daniel Briggs believes that, although all the top 10 cities in the list are very busy urban areas, it doesn’t necessarily follow that more motorists means more anger.

He said: “The fact that the top few cities have so many more incidents than others suggests that drivers there may unknowingly copy each other’s bad behaviour. These results show that there are some clear hotspots when it comes to angry or impatient drivers.

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“It’s never ideal to be on the receiving end of road rage, but it’s also pretty unpleasant to be a regularly angry driver. Motoring should be an enjoyable experience, or at least one that people don’t dread.

“Given that road rage is generally considered commonplace, it’s likely that someone experiencing it has also been on the receiving end of another driver’s anger at some point. So, it’s worth remembering that a car door probably doesn’t insulate your emotions as much as you first think.”

It has been previously said that more than half of the UK’s drivers admit to regularly being angry at other motorists while they’re driving.

(Lead image: iStock)

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