Apparently, fuel retailers are charging motorists 6p a litre more for diesel than petrol even though they buy them for the same price.Usually, the forecourt operators are seen as the innocent party when consumers and businesses complain about the cost of fuel, but, based on figures from the AA, it looks like the retailers are carving themselves out an increased margin on the back of the amount of diesel vehicles on the road. More diesel vehicles are now sold than petrol ones, many of which will be for commercial use with the rest sold to the public when diesel was promoted as the cleaner fuel based on the levels of carbon dioxide emissions – but that’s another story for another day. This means that diesel fuel sales last year totalled 27.9bn litres compared with 17.6bn litres of petrol – much of which will be down to business vehicles. Of course, any business that moves its people, products and equipment around is affected by the ever fluctuating cost of fuel. Perhaps fluctuating isn’t quite the correct word, because for every minor price dip there is a lengthy period where costs go on the rise. At Pimlico Plumbers, we operate a fleet of more than 250 vehicles with an annual fuel bill of around a million quid – the additional 6p a litre adding nearly 60 grand to our outlay.
However, these vehicles are essential to our business – after all, you can’t send a plumber and his tools to a job on the underground. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about the environment, and we’re continually investing in the most efficient vehicles available that meet our requirements to minimise the impact we have on the planet. But it’s a necessary requirement, and the more it costs the more danger there is that companies will end up passing on increases to customers.
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