Now transport company owners have made an impassioned to the Government to ‘stop talking’ and to take immediate action to slash the tax charged on a litre of fuel.
Richard Cobley, owner of Richard Cobley Transport, which operates 25 HGVs and 25 sub-contractors’ vehicles from its depot in Whitehead Drove, Fengate, Peterborough, said: “The impact of the rising cost of fuel is crippling.
Mr Cobley said the price of diesel had risen by 50 pence a litre since January and he was now spending between £47,000 to £50,000 a week on fuel compared to £25,000 to £27,000 before the costs started to rise.
He said “Every one pence extra on a litre of fuel sends my running costs up by 0.5 per cent.
“I’m losing about £10,000 a week. We really don’t know what to do.”
Mr Cobley said the fuel bill for the 18-year-old family-run business was now about 50 per cent of the running costs.
He said: “If the Government does nothing about this we will have to decrease numbers.
“I am not sure how long we can go on like this. I just cannot see a light at the end of the tunnel.
He added: “The Government needs to stop talking and do something. The amount taken in tax on fuel is massive.
“For every £100 spent on fuel, £46 is taken by the government.
“If the Government doesn’t do something, then people will go out of business.”
Mr Cobley added: “It just feels that what we are saying is falling on deaf ears and yet the price of a litre of diesel is set to rise again this weekend.”
Andrew Howard, managing director of haulage company PC Howard, based at Stamford Road, King’s Cliffe, which employs 100 drivers, said: “The impact is dramatic and unprecedented.
“It feels that we are on the edge of a precipice.
“The Government needs to act immediately. The time for speeches and promises has gone.
“The worry is about the choices we have to make - what are the things we will have to do without – and this will slow the economy.
“The real concern is where will be in six months’ time?”
Lobbying for change in the corridors of power:
Martin Dean, key account manager of the Peterborough-based Road Haulage Association, which represents hauliers across the UK, said: “We are lobbying the Government very hard on this issue and are in discussions with the Treasury to get our message across.
Mr Dean said: “We are asking for the introduction of an essential user rebate on fuel for the haulage industry that would provide a 15 per cent rebate for the industry.
“This would also help reduce the inflationary pressures in the economy.”
Eighty nine per cent of goods sold in the UK are moved by road and that includes 98 per cent of food, agricultural and consumer products.
Reducing the fuel cost means that less of the price of transport gets passed on to the public.
Mr Dean said: “A huge reduction in fuel tax is unlikely. We accept the Covid-19 pandemic has left a hole in Government finances. But an essential users rebate is achievable.
“There is a precedent for a rebate. Bus companies get a 34.5 per cent reduction in fuel duty to keep down the cost of public transport.
“Essential user rebates are also used across Europe, in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and many others.
He added: “I am optimistic that we will get a favourable response.
“But the cost of fuel is at an unprecedented level and action needs to be taken quickly."
What are our MPs saying?
North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said: “The high cost of fuel is a matter of serious concern to businesses and individuals, with the prices having been driven up following the surge in demand after the global pandemic and made worse by the conflict in Ukraine.
"The Government has kept fuel duty frozen for over a decade, since 2011, and earlier this year, in March, further action was taken with a five pence cut in fuel duty.
"This five pence cut will save hauliers some £1,500 over the next year while individuals will see a saving of £100.
He added: "But the issue remains of concern and I will be making sure that ministers are aware of the continued difficulties faced by my constituents as well as people throughout the country.”
Peterborough MP Paul Bristow said: “Hauliers are absolutely right to be concerned about rising fuel prices.
"Firms have benefited from the Government’s recent decision to make a five per cent cut in duty on fuel
He added: "But I accept that much more needs to be done and I shall pursue what more can be done to make fuel more affordable when I get back to Westminster.”
Counting the cost of trucking:
Fuel accounts for a third of the running costs of an HGV. 47 per cent of the cost of diesel is made up of fuel duty paid to the Government. On average, an HGV covers 75,000 miles a year and uses 41,000 litres of diesel. That is a cost of £35,000 a year per HGV. Recent hikes in the cost of fuel have added another £20,000 bringing the current cost of fuel to £55,000 a year. It costs about £1,000 to fill the average HGV. The UK’s HGV fleet is responsible for getting 98 per cent of food, agricultural and consumer products to market