I haven’t touched a bike in weeks, not even to clean one, a job I’ve been putting off (repeatedly). The government mishandling of a potential strike by fuel truck drivers and the media shit storm that’s resulted from it has resulted in panic fuel buying here in central Manchester. My wife went out before 7am this morning to fill up and found our coal Esso station completely drained of fuel and all the pumps therefore marked as out of order.
The whole thing’s quite bizarre as the first news item I heard essentially said that Army drivers had been given training to ensure fuel deliveries continued during potential strike action. Yet as the mess has unfolded the government is now saying everyone should top up if their fuel tanks reach half full. Filling up is an expensive business as my pal Dave in scotland has just discovered:
The whole thing is a great way for the government to fill the coffers as the tax of fuel is a fixed-rate on the underlying oil price and is a very large proportion of the cost consumers pay. The result is that it’s gone mental.
Now this whole business doesn’t really affect me, I drive my son to nursery each morning which is probably only 2 miles each way. Once I’m recovered we’ll be biking that, so the fuel cost will be nil. I perhaps put some fuel in the tank each month, but may be only £30. In fact I’ve never filled the tank, but I bet it wouldn’t be cheap!
As I walked into work this morning fuelled by coffee and dodging a £1.70 bus fare each way, I realised that single occupancy commuting is the norm here. No car-share commuting for folk in Manchester. Or park and ride. The city needs a plan, because let’s be honest fuel prices are only going in one direction in future. Up.