Profiteering from fuel shortage…

In the midst of a fuel crisis, I was somewhat appalled to learn that some garages are raising the price of their fuel…the most famous case so far appears to be of the Rix garage in Kirkcaldy (the address of which I believe is Bridge Street). Whilst the garage in question blame a computer fault, we all know that computers are only as good as the folks who enter data into them…so I’m not so sure I buy their argument. Similarly, I read that Rix themselves “distanced” themselves from the garage, saying that they hadn’t contacted the garage since 2007…yet they still carry the Rix branding. Perhaps, there’s something odd going on?

A colleague suggested that a list of the garages that are profiteering is maintained, such that we can boycott them after the strike action. Sounds like a good plan. I suppose it would be possible to add some to the comments of this post…

The Courier carries the full story over here.

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6 thoughts on “Profiteering from fuel shortage…”

  1. Isn’t that called supply & demand?

    If the price rises due to local scarcity – then those who don’t *really* need it won’t buy it at the inflated price, meaning that at least some (albeit at a higher price) is available for those who *really do* need it…

  2. There is a big difference between supply and demand and profiteering – if the garage is able to get hold of sufficient fuel (as news sources such as the BBC say they can) then there is no argument for supply and demand. Unlike fires at storage centres – pipelines going offline restricts the resupply of fuel not the distribution. In theory at least, there is sufficient fuel to last until at least the end of May (again according to the BBC) so at this stage there is no shortage of supply.

    Obviously, local conditions may determine otherwise and I agree, if supply is short prices HAVE to increase to safeguard those who need it (or else fuel becomes rationed).

    Ultimately, punters will pay with their tyres (to coin a new expression, if I may) and unless all garages decide to clump together and raise prices (**cough** Price Fixing **cough**) someone will offer a better deal.

    But, as always, it’s the consumers who will suffer and I send my best wishes to Craig – and all Scots affected by this – for a speedy resolution.

  3. It may be sensible actually. Here’s why. There is not fuel supply problem the government has said it will ensure supply via imports if required. However, people are still panic buying and that’s a problem because fuel evaporates in the storage tanks and so is ordered and delivered in a JIT fashion, if people panic buy then JIT breaks and then there is a supply problem, a “getting it to the pumps” supply problem, not a “we don’t have it” supply problem.

    So pushing up prices is a good idea ‘cos now if you are panic buying and you don’t really *need* the fuel, you’ll say to yourself “I’m not paying that price” and leave it. That’s what needs to happen. If people are not smart enough to do that for themselves then the forecourt owners are right to try and push down demand.

  4. I agree with Gary. This last week I’ve paid the most I’ve ever seen for a litre of fuel (118.9p) and I’ve reduced my car usage. I don’t think it will affect me much, if at all. I have a Tesco and Sainsbury’s within walking distance. I walk to work anyway. And if I want to visit my parents I can always take a bus (or three). *shudders*

    Curiously, the biggest loser in all of this is the Central government through lost tax revenue. They are losing over £1million per hour of the strike and also round the edges while the plant is shutting down and restarting (which seems to take a week to do). They could have prevented it by saying “Bugger this for a packet of crisps, we’ll just dump £1 million into the pension fund so there is enough for you to continue the current scheme. Problem goes away and we still get over £50 million in otherwise lost tax revenue”. Absolute muppets! The lot of them.

  5. I remember an instance during the big fuel shortages around 1999/2000 (when the fuel depots were blocked by protesters? Not sure what the reason was now, but I remember quite a lot of panic buying and the infamous Radio 1 / Wales goof that triggered another shortage).

    But there was one garage (in Berkshire I think), that was selling petrol at £20 a gallon or something daft like that, and people were paying out for it too. There was quite an uproar in the local and national press and similar calls for a boycott after the shortages ended. IIRC the garage did in deed go out of business a few months afterwards. Nothing but greed and the guy got his just rewards.

    At least the garage you mention didn’t hike up the prices too much..

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