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Online entrepreneur cashes in on rising fuel prices

“I’ve had numerous emails from customers saying they prefer to buy from us online than endure extortionate fuel prices,” says Soma, who set up web pharmacy Chemist Direct in November 2007 and is set to hit the £4m-turnover mark this year.

“Our low prices are also attractive to those looking to save money to counterbalance their increased fuel bill."

After the announcement in late April that the price of oil had surged to a record high, Soma saw a 35 per cent spike in online orders.

The eco-entrepreneurs are also jovial. Lord Jamie Borwick runs Modec, the £9m-turnover zero-emission light commercial vehicle manufacturer. With van drivers now paying out an average £1,250 extra a year on diesel compared to 2007, Borwick’s £30,000-a-pop vehicles suddenly look like an attractive investment. Sales this year are set to jump to a stonking £50m.

“We’re one of the few companies that are immune to fuel prices,” he says.

That doesn’t mean he’s impressed with Brown’s proposed 2p rise in fuel duty.

“The last thing a government should do is increase taxes when there’s a recession. That’s effectively what it’s doing.

“Brown is urging the British public to cut spend. In the meantime, he’s raking in huge surpluses from record petrol prices.”

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