September 2017 sees the introduction of new EU exhaust emission regulations in the wake of the VW scandal and the like. Obviously we all now know that the laboratory based emission figures for cars bear no relation to the real world. Manufacturers have been downsizing engines like mad to comply with this load of spurious baloney and have now, in some cases, got to begin up-sizing their motors to meet the challenges of legitimate and accurate emission control.
This isn’t really news as interested parties have seen this one coming, but it is in the news and guess what? There’s more news. Petrol is set to increase by 5p per litre in the next two weeks, which is a significant rise on the existing price. If you are a watcher of petrol prices you’ll know there has been an upward price creep for the last couple of months. Now the recent OPEC agreement has put the willies up the market and, as is usual, it is the public that pays instantly through the nose.
The Pump Conundrum
The last time the price of fuel jumped by this much in just two weeks was seven years ago in April 2009 apparently, although I haven’t bothered to check the voracity of that. What I do know is that the price increase bucks the established “Autumn dip” trend after the traditional Summer rip-off is over. 2010 was the last time we saw an increase in fuel prices at this time of year.
Since 2010, the beginning of autumn has meant lower petrol prices, according to some statistics I read. This upward trend is now set to continue at a significant pace, according to the Petrol Retailers Association. The “Autumn dip” is no more. Making sure that the excuses are slipped in early, we are now told that fuel prices in the UK are going up for a number of reasons.
The Weak Pound Scenario
Yes, it’s the weak pound. Certainly it is the recent mini-crash caused by said weak pound. It is also the rise in the cost of crude oil that is affecting the price of petrol and diesel as the oil-producing nations hold the rest of the world to ransom. No one has ever explained to me how the price of oil not yet sucked from Mother Earth can affect the price at the pumps now. Someone is making a few bob somewhere.
The price rises will quickly affect every pump throughout the UK so motorists can’t hide from the increase. At today’s prices, the difference between the cheapest and most expensive unleaded is a staggering 20p. We can but try shopping around to save some pennies and hope the supermarkets take pity.
The Road Tax Contamination
Don’t forget that road tax – or whatever name they give it now – will also rise significantly for new cars next year. (Note: Remember ‘the war on motorists is over’? How happy we were). This is because that odious oik Osborne (may his name be expunged from history) saw, but curiously didn’t foresee, a massive drop in revenue as we all bought cars with small economical engines.
That’s another expense we don’t need and we haven’t even properly started on the Brexit shenanigans yet because you can bet your bottom dollar (and probably will) that however the cookie crumbles this is going to cost us regardless, no matter how dubious the claims and counter-claims.
The Dependence Transcendence
Thus we are now back in the hands of the car makers. To meet emissions controls they downsized engines and added turbochargers. With the new emission controls they’ve now gone as far as they can go with cutting noxious substances. Engine sizes in some cases will have to rise to meet the new regulations, possibly increasingly augmented by hybrid technology.
That’s okay because we need the manufacturers to help us combat rising costs in rip-off Britain. The more economical the car the cheaper our fuel bill will be. We should also be encouraging the electric car makers to come up with a solution to the battery range issue asap too. It’s in their interests and it is certainly in ours. Geoff Maxted