Various local papers have had letters and articles calling for the fuel duty to be reconsidered - below is the response I sent off yesterday...
You report some saying that our current fuel duty should be reduced. Indeed times are hard. Large rural areas like Gloucestershire, with uneven and costly public transport, have been hit particularly hard. However the days of cheap oil are well and truly over. Therefore cutting fuel prices and increasing fuel consumption can only deepen the looming crisis.
In the last year petrol and diesel consumption in the UK has already dropped by one fifth (i) and two thirds of motorists have cut their car journeys (ii).
Green campaigners have been calling for action for years, but it seems our Governments have chosen to listen to the oil lobby and their calls for more road building and more traffic. The inevitable result is that oil prices - and oil profits - rise. And the lobbyists demand that the rest of us pay for it through our taxes, or in cuts to services.
Let's face it, there is nothing on the horizon that is going to keep 30 million cars on the road. If we converted them all to battery power, we'd need to build 64 nuclear power stations to power them!
In the short-term a real 'Green' approach would scrap Road Tax, which would move the responsibility onto fuel duty and ensure the biggest polluters pay most. Then a windfall tax on excess oil company profits would seriously revolutionise our public transport network and build better cycle and walk routes. Indeed without an affordable and reliable public transport system more of us are going to find travelling increasingly difficult.
Cllr. Philip Booth, Stroud District Green Party.
(i) According to the International Energy Agency (Observer, 29.6.08)
(ii) Steve Hawkes Surging petrol cost sparks big drop in car journeys The Times, 25th June 2008.