It is thought that by the middle of the week £1.32 a litre (that’s an amazing £6 a gallon), will be the price over large swathes of Scotland. It may well be more on the islands and in the North West Highlands.
Is this then, a brilliant time to apply the promised fuel escalator, which will add another 5p a litre to the cost of petrol. That would mean that be the end of April we would all be paying another 10p a litre at the pump.
And depending how far the troubles spread into the serious oil producers, that is to say Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, this may be just the beginning of the price hikes, which some have suggested could see petrol at £2.00 a litre before the end of the year.
So surely the fuel stabiliser, first proposed by Alex Salmond and included in the Tories election manifesto, and then dithered over by David Cameron on the grounds that it would be difficult to administer, must be brought into play. This would cut the tax rate as prices rose, meaning that the government would continue to receive the same amount of tax revenue as it had anticipated, at no, or little, extra cost to the driver.
And it’s not just motorists that will have to cope with steep rises in prices. Public transport companies, taxis, airlines train companies running diesel trains will all be hit (and so will their passengers). And as most things in the shops are transported by road of diesel train, that means we can look forward to more inflation in everyday items (with increased revenue to the government).
Even electric train rail passengers will be hit hard as inflation increases on the back of dearer oil. Commuter fares are linked to the RPI. So the cost of season tickets will be likely to rise by 10% plus at the end of the year because the Government now allows even the regulated fares to rise by 3% above July’s RPI.
So George, if you are reading this, I’m sure you will do the sensible thing, and set the great minds of HM Treasury to find a way of introducing a fuel stabiliser. If they fail I’m sure John Swinney will explain how to do it, if you write him a nice friendly letter...