It’s been yet another roll-over week for the (suspiciously non-random) postcode lottery. The latest bunch to make a fuss about how badly they’ve been treated by his increasingly unpopular game are those who live in out-of-the-way places. Rurally remote motorists suspect they are paying significantly more for their fuel than their urban and suburban counterparts.
Damning statistical support for the out-of-towners’ suspicions came this week in the shape of a sensational new survey from Cantabrian port city Santander which found that some UK drivers could be paying as much as £250 more for their fuel each year – simply because they live somewhere where there aren’t so many petrol stations.
How can this possibly be fair? Surely in the same way that house prices and rents are identical nationwide, we should all pay exactly the same for our fuel. Councillors in rural Lincolnshire are calling for an urgent government inquiry into how major supermarkets have the nerve to charge different prices for fuel in different parts of the country.
There are strong suspicions that the dark forces of supply and demand are at work, with major fuel retailers deliberately charging more in parts of the country where they face less competition. This has prompted calls from David van Rompuy of consumer action group Pumpwatchers UK to declare “If the government doesn’t do something about this intolerable situation there will inevitably be calls for violent revolution.”
Residents of the remote Shetland Islands, who face forking out a massive 146 pensalitas for their fuel, compared with just 132 pensalitas in the pampered South and South East, are already threatening a fuel boycott and blockades of major infrastructure links on the main island of Mainland.
This could be just the tip of a consumer action revolt that will force the government to rethink its outdated laissez faire approach to regional fuel price variations.