Anorak News | Fuelling Demand

Fuelling Demand

by | 14th, September 2005

‘HOUSES are running out! Buy houses! Buy! Buy! Buy!

‘Alright, kids, we’re nearly there. I hope you’re all thirsty?’

Such is the power of the media that right now you are reading this on your new handheld gadget while you stand in a massive line outside your local house dealership.

With three days of fuel protests beginning today, the headline talk is of motorists panic buying petrol.

Drivers are racing to the pumps to get what they can. They’re handing in the tokens to get their free tumblers and then filling them with petrol.

There are rumours of drivers hermetically sealing their car windows and doors with tape and filling the entire interior with unleaded. Children are being ordered to hold petrol in their mouths and spit it into a sink at home. People are bringing sinks!

But do not panic. So what the picture in the Times shows a woman sticking a nozzle into her car alongside a sign that reads: “ON THIS SIDE NO UNLEAED – SORRY”.

Don’t worry if you are not one of the drivers the Telegraph spots waiting in line at a station in Poplar, London.

“These queues are ridiculous,” says one Arthur Price, who nonetheless waits it out. “Prices just keep going up,” says Mary Ogundiyi. “I don’t want to be stuck,” says Emma Leelawardena.

All remain in the queue, waiting as “The pumps run dry as petrol panic hits the streets in Poplar”.

But don’t panic. The Department of Trade and Industry has drawn up what the Telegraph calls, “an oil emergency response plan” to be put into force in the event of what the Government terms “significant disruption” to the supply of fuel.

The plant will see the Government ration forecourt sales and limit opening times at filling stations.

But don’t panic. There’s no need. Sure, everybody else is waiting to fill up their motors, if they haven’t already, but don’t you be silly. Don’t panic!

Panicking is a mug’s game. The Times says that some garages are taking advantage of the climate of fear and putting up their prices.

People like Masood Meah, the owner of Nad Petroleum just outside Manchester, who last night raised his prices by 8p to 108p a litre. “It’s supply and demand,” says he, quoting from the Opec handbook.

(Mr Meah’s petrol is not the dearest in the land. That honour goes to the Total Station of London’s Sloane Avenue, which is charging 119p a litre.)

What’s more the Petrol Retailers Association thinks prices will come down. The association says that due to the drop in wholesale oil prices this week, average prices at the pumps will fall by 2p or 3p a litre next week.

Ray Holloway, the association’s director, explains: “The irony is that if people had heeded the warning not to panic they would have saved themselves some money.”

So don’t panic. Save yourselves some money. Although if you don’t fill up and the protest does affect supply, you may find yourself spending more than you’d have saved on taxis, buses and shoe leather…’

Posted: 14th, September 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink