Fuel prices: Raise or reduce? Your views

Petrol on sale at a BP garage in St John's Wood, London

A group of motorists are planning to lobby MPs to call for a cut in fuel duty.

The campaign group Fair Fuel UK says petrol and diesel are at record high prices and must fall to help families and businesses during the economic downturn.

BBC News website readers discuss the effects of fuel prices.

First, Michael de Podesta argues for a rise in fuel costs and Russ Gladwish explains why he thinks prices should decrease.

Michael de Podesta in London

Michael de Podesta

Sadly, petrol prices need to rise further in order to make the economic cost of using a car match the ecological cost.

Having built an infrastructure over 50 years on the assumption of cheap fuel, we now need to spend the next 50 years working with different assumptions.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is phenomenal. There is some uncertainty around the affect of emissions but it is a big cause for concern.

I don't think people are bad when using fuel for their cars. I have a car but I don't drive it very much. I live relatively close to work so I know that I am lucky in that respect.

I have sympathy for people who are concerned about the rise in fuel cost and I know petrol is essential to our economy.

But for me it is the difference between the ecological cost and the economic cost.

Currently, I don't think petrol is expensive enough to make us change our way of life and become more ecological. It's very cheap, about 20p a mile, and it is cheaper than public transport.

We need to decide if we would like more cars and consume more fuel or do we need to focus on using less fuel and emit less carbon dioxide.

Fuel could either be rationed or the price of it could increase.

It seems fair that the more fuel you use, the more it should cost.

Therefore, I think that increasing fuel prices is a good policy because if people know that prices will stay high, then it would encourage businesses to seek alternatives, and encourage people to drive less.

Russ Gladwish in Norfolk

A person using a petrol pump

How are rural dwellers supposed to cope? The trouble is that public transport is practically non-existent.

I work about 21 miles away from home, and my son and daughter both need to be dropped at work.

My daughter works only five miles away and she can get a bus to work, but when she finishes work there are no buses to take her back home.

I have a 1.9 diesel car and when filled it up recently it cost £99.96 - that's about a third of my weekly wage, or 20% of my income.

If I spent 10% on indoor fuel, I would be classed as being in fuel poverty.

It's not the fault of fuel companies - we all know most of the cost is fuel duty.

The government has milked the cow dry and are now damaging business and families to rake in the cash.

I have no disposable income for going out socially. I use the car for work and shopping. I don't know what more I can do.

I think fuel duty should be reduced substantially while income tax should rise.

This is fairer as the cash can be used by everyone, so everyone should pay. It will also reduce costs for businesses and help the economy.

More views

I can no longer afford the petrol costs of running my family car every day to work, so I've done the calculations and I've bought a small city car to reduce my cost of getting to work. Public transport is not an option for anyone living and/or working outside of a major city, so the cost of petrol/diesel is a critical factor in choosing a job nowadays. Dave, Southampton

High fuel costs do not impact my driving costs as I own an electric car. It may take close to 11 hours to drive the 280 miles to Norwich but it cost only £2.80 for the initial charge at home as the required three rapid charges are free for now. However the high price of fuel affects every other aspect of my life as it pushes up prices for everything else. Mark Tebbutt, Lancashire

We run a powerboat school and marine centre, the high price of fuel, both petrol and diesel is hitting us hard! Fuel is essential to our business, and we have to pass the price of fuel onto our customers, and we are getting fewer and fewer of those due to prices. What can a small business do? B Clough, Wiltshire

I would support the price rises in fuel if the UK would have an efficient and effective alternative public transport system not just for personal journeys but for the transport of freight, postal service etc. We need to make public transport the convenient and cheap option, rather than making both petrol prices and tickets for other forms of transport sky high! Gizella Hughes, Manchester

These high prices just mean I don't go out as often. Being disabled and having a small motability car it only gets used for essential trips these days: shopping, hospital and doctors appointments. It means no socialising or social visits to family/friends. Just another step towards being even more isolated which is crazy. Brian Turner, Lichfield, Staffordshire

I have tried to reduce car use in my household for environmental reasons, but the price of fuel is now a far greater impetus for us to do so. Regrettably, high fuel prices lead to higher prices on the shelves so I find myself in a quandary. The government has no comprehension at all of how the working man lives. Three pence a litre maybe nothing to millionaires, but to me, it's food from my children's mouths. Paul Reid, Stockport

Diesel has been 149.9p here, which is due to the costs of shipping and distributing to the Isle of Man. I would imagine the 1.50p barrier will be broken shortly and then will continue to climb - people depend on cars more on the island due to the limited public transport and small, rural areas, and there is limited competition to keep prices under control. Phil Dickson, Ramsey, Isle of Man

As usual the prices spike at the slightest whiff of a tension in the Middle East, even though nothing has actually happened yet, and reserves have already been set aside to cover any short-term shortage in production. The cost of petrol didn't fall in proportion to the fall in crude over the last few years since its peak! This is unsustainable. Someone is ripping us off. Dave, Belfast, Northern Ireland

This whole situation is getting out of hand and the government is standing idly by - well not quite idly as they are rubbing their hands as the duty and tax rolls in to treasury coffers. Increases in fuel prices affect everyone and leads to increased food and commodity prices when many are struggling to stay afloat. John Welsby, Bathgate, Scotland



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  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    The government won't pay attention to anything but a blockade of the refineries.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    Intelligent, integrated (public) transport policy and fast reliable broadband. Granted its not sexy or reactionary or be 'highly rated' but with News International on the back foot perhaps we can slip some sober, sensible planning through that will get the country moving and breathing again and heading back up the economic league table.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.


    It seems you and many others have bought into the 'peak oil' lies spouted by the environ-mental-ists.

    Of course there will come a time when we have exhausted the economically reachable fossil fuels. However we are a long long time away from that.

    The sole reason petrol is so expensive is FUEL DUTY. Over 60% of the price of petrol goes straight into Osbourne's coffers.


  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    The problem would come that any cut that is given by the government will be swallowed by the fat cats who have to have the best in the boardroom, I think that the directors of these companies should come and live the lives of the Average man.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Although I think the average British person should drive less and use the train or bike more I don't think taxing him/her out of the car is the right way. Fuel duty affects people on low income more.

    The government should make cycling and trains more attractive by providing cycle routes and make trains a lot cheaper. Why we pay 50-100% more for tickets than in NL/FR/DE is beyond my comprehension?

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.


    "I think that people should give up their 3litre gas guzzlers and be forced to drive something with a smaller engine"

    Here is the problem, some people think large engines are innefficent, this isn't always the case.

    I drive an 11 year old 3 litre diesel and it manages 39 MPG average, hardly a gas guzzler is it

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    Laurie Knight

    Public transport isn't totally useless. It's still possible to by reasonably priced houses within walking distance of rail stations and many stations now have free parking. I've commuted to work by rail for the past 3 years, but I won't be doing so for much longer. Reasons why are in post 59.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    4. Greg
    Save planet earth! First increased fuel prices then increased car tax and road toll charges! Act today to save tomorrow!"


    That's as realistic as suggesting demolishing every house in the UK (considering they're far bigger polluters than cars). You need a gradual shift to more eco-friendly resources if you want support, rather than suddenly destroying transport infrastructure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Office at home. All work-related trips on expenses. It is amazing how much can be combined in with a work trip. Someone else pays

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    Do these campaigners live in Cloud Cuckoo land? Do they seriously believe there has to be a ceiling to fuel prices?

    The costs of energy, like every other commodity, are driven by the laws of supply and demand. Those who use it the most, pay the most. Too many people jump into their cars when they could walk or cycle. I once regularly cycled 14 miles to/from work, over the North Downs..

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    65. FatMao
    The movement of the working classes was the greatest step in the raising of living standards in the western world. Buses and trains are now more expensive in many cases than a car, and far less reliable (how many times can you be late for work before you get the sack). What will happen is slums will emerge in big cities and towns. It will destroy the living standards of millions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    The only bus I can use to get to work has been cut and it takes over 1.5 hours to walk. I start work at 8 am, and in winter would not feel safe walking in the dark in the area around here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Up or Down they have got us by the TATTIES...If you drive to the station you have to pay vast sums to park then face the Licensed robbery by the train company only to stand in a cattle truck OR you drive pay vastly over inflated fuel prices then either congestion charges and again MASSIVE parking prices..and that is to go and make a shilling for the day..would make a cat laugh

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Even if the government cut the tax on fuel it would only be a temporary respite, the ever rising price of oil as production plateaus then declines will see to that.
    The West has been in recession for years and yet oil is at record prices, so a fundamental change is needed while still affordable.

    A sustainable comprehensive public transport system is needed but it won't be cheap.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Fuel prices are higher than expected so it must be bringing in more revenue than the government was expecting.
    In which case, the Osborne can reduce duty at least to bring fuel prices back in line with expectations at the last budget.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    When people are seriously considering giving up work because they can't afford to get to work (either by car or public transport) then, surely, someone has to listen. The government is treading a very fine line at the moment with people getting to breaking point. It's only a matter of time before there's real civil disobedience or worse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    All very well for Michael Podesta in London to suggest fuel prices should go up, and if the government want to truly kill the economy of this country then I agree they should follow Michael's advice.

    Unfortunately for anyone not living and working in the same urban area, public transport is so useless as to be practically unusable meaning millions of people have NO CHOICE but to drive to work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    Nissan are going to invest more money in the UK. What do they produce? Cars, which also brings employment. Price cars off the road by having too high a fuel and we will have many thousands unemployed. MP's still drive about in large cars.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    I've noticed that recently, my local petrol station has stopped selling super-unleaded petrol. This is probably through lack of demand because 99.9% of the time, people will by the cheapest fuel that's compatible with their car.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    Raise it obviously. You want it cheaper ask the oil producing countries to charge you less!

    Lowering tax here will not invent more oil. It will still run out. It will still get more expensive. Pushing us to find alternatives first will benefit us more than a fools paradise of slightly cheaper petrol for a few moments. Adapt, live on top of work, etc. chose now while you can afford to.


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