This is a guest post by Caitlin Purvis.
For many, we must factor petrol into our weekly budget. Predictions are suggesting that by 2020, the number of cars on the roads globally will have doubled. This leads to questions over whether this will affect the price of our fuel on forecourts. By the end of 2018, the average price of a litre of petrol in the UK was £1.21. In comparison, a decade ago this figure was closer to £0.89 per litre. Such surges in price reflect on how steep inflation has been, but what’s in store for the rest of 2019 for our empty tanks? Here, with Lookers, who offer a range of car servicing plans, we delve deeper.
Protesting Fuel Prices and the Green Agenda
There have been many protests across the world because of the price of petrol. This is no different this year and at the beginning of 2019, there was an uproar by the yellow vest protesters in France. The grievances were sparked by the current French president Emmanuel Macron, as his government introduced a series of taxes which hit petrol with a stark price increase. Paris was engulfed by the initial outcry of dismay, with public areas being set alight by demonstrators. The protestors eventually weighed in on the government, as the carbon taxes have been scrapped because of the ‘gilets jaunes’ activism (yellow vests), with blockades, violence and even fatalities symbolising the dismay over rising fuel costs.
In France, you can expect to pay approximately £1.26 per litre in France, with the proposed taxes meaning this would have risen by 0.091 per litre. The taxes were designed to support Macron’s environmental reforms and to bring about a reduction of carbon emissions produced by French motorists. The eco-friendly stance aligns with attitudes reflected in laws established by the European Union to target carbon dioxide emissions in the automotive industry. As of 2020, fines will be enforced for manufacturers who fail to meet emission standards, and this could provoke more leaders to follow in the footsteps of Macron by enforcing taxes on petrol to curb consumption.
PSA Group’s Operations Director, Maxime Picat, has set out plans for the multinational manufacturer to unveil a new range of electric and plug-in hybrid models this year in order to meet the new emission requirements. As the car market evolves and environmental concerns continue to spread, the actions of Macron could be reflected by leaders across the world in years to come, and 2019 could be a pivotal turning point in this.
Looking Further Afield
In the western hemisphere, we’ve noticed a different kind of crisis regarding petrol prices. As one of the largest exporters of oil, Venezuelan motorists pay an inconceivable average £0.01 for a litre of fuel, and the country is paralysed by an inflation rate of one million per cent. The rule of thumb for petrol prices in poorer and export countries was maintained for the most part last year, as exporter countries pay notably less for fuel than those who receive it.
For a road trip that has the best value for many, you could look at destinations such as Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. This is because they are all known for having below average fuel prices. However, the United States remains an outlier, as the largest economy in the world pays an average of £0.54 per litre. In fact, under current 2019 rates, you could drive the infamous 2,448-mile ‘Route 66’ in a vehicle with an average of 20mpg and it would cost an equivalent of £353 under the American rate. The journey would, however, set you back £792 at the British fuel price.
Overall, it looks as though petrol prices are going to continue climbing consistently as 2019 progresses. In Australia, prices at the pump have reached their highest level in four months, after creeping upwards in the final quarter last year. Similar trends are evident as prices have already rocketed in Greece, Iceland, Denmark, and Hong Kong. In Zimbabwe, protests were sparked earlier this year as prices reached an equivalent of £2.55 per litre, an increase which the countries President Emmerson Mnangagwa put down to illegal trading and increased demand.
The Home Stretch
The unpredictable nature of oil prices will determine which way the pricing on our forecourts goes. The potential for both increase and decrease has been stated from a variety of sources such as slowed growth, emerging currencies, and financial volatility.
Across Europe, the tone of 2019 has already been set where petrol prices are concerned thanks to protests and fluctuation as well as cultural arguments of conservation arising. In the UK, fuel prices have been the subject of sporadic protests over the past two decades, perhaps most notably in the 2012 fuel crisis. As Brexit unfolds, there is an overarching sense of uncertainty towards the country’s finances, and potential for repercussions to be felt throughout European markets, all of which could impact the price paid at the pump as 2019 progresses.