‘It looks like a tipping point’: Drivers on soaring petrol and diesel prices | Gasoline prices

Pump prices continue to climb, with the average cost of a liter of petrol reaching 191.5p on Sunday, while diesel reached 199.0p.

Soaring costs, which have sparked protests by motorists in parts of England and Wales, are having a serious impact on incomes, especially for those living in underserved areas.

Here, five people discuss how fuel costs affect them.

“Soon we will reach a point where we can no longer cope”

David Francois. Photography: David Francis

Twice a week, David Francis, 59, commutes between his home in Cornwall and the college in London where he is assistant principal. While last November the journey was costing him around £540 in petrol a month, it has soared to £770. Along with other rising bills, Francis says he’s worried about the future.

“I am increasingly worried that soon we [will] reached a point where we can no longer cope. And now what? If I have to give up my job in London, how are we going to generate enough income to live on? He explains that it is difficult to find a job close to home. Francis’ wife works three different jobs to keep up with rising costs, while he teaches online classes three times a week after work.

Francis, who travels to London on Sunday evenings and returns to Cornwall on Thursdays, has also considered coming home less but worries about the impact on his family, especially his 13-year-old son. “Even now, on a Sunday night, he’s like, ‘Oh daddy, don’t go.’ He’s already struggling with that, and the price of rail passes mean that “coming by train is not an option”.

The assistant manager, who makes “decent money”, says he’s never been in this situation before. “I worked as a senior executive for 20 years and I have never faced a financial environment like this. You’re just wondering, what’s going on?

“I have to choose between eating or paying for my trip”

Richard, 45, a full-time NHS health assistant from North Yorkshire, says he is looking for a new job as he struggles to find the money to pay for his journey.

He works 40 to 45 hours a week and his current hourly wage, he says, is the same as that offered by fast food restaurants.

“In my region, transport is expensive and irregular. It is actually cheaper to use a motorbike or car to get to work than to take the bus. Recently we received a pay rise to £9.65 to comply with the minimum wage increase. But the cost of fuel means that I have to choose between eating or paying for fuel to go to work.

The family of four spend £50 a week on food, paid for by his wife’s salary, while Richard’s salary pays for rent, council tax of £140 and utility bills now totaling £330.

“Two or three months ago, I had a bit of money left over from my salary to do a bit of what I want to do,” he says. “Now I just go to work and come home, and I struggle to pay my bills. If they go up again, I won’t be able to pay. I’m getting to the point where I can’t get it to work anymore.

“I’m thinking of going back to working with people with learning disabilities in the private sector, which I did originally. The pay would be £10-£12 an hour with less stress and responsibility.

“We have reduced as much as we could reduce, we cannot reduce any more.”

“It looks like a tipping point”

Annie*, a 28-year-old children’s social worker in the east of England, says rising fuel costs have seriously affected her income as the mileage allowance (45p per mile) has not been increased despite soaring prices at the pump. “Working and living in an area of ​​the country without the option of public transport means owning and maintaining a car is a requirement for my job,” she says.

Sign up for First Edition, our free daily newsletter – every weekday morning at 7am BST

While a full tank of gas cost Annie around £50-60 at the end of last year, it now costs around £85-100. She points out that fuel costs are just one aspect of the income squeeze for social workers at the moment: “With the reduction of social worker salaries in real terms, we are also participating in a forced funding scheme by moving to and from the most vulnerable. children on behalf of the state. The social worker says that while she’s used to spending her own money to take the kids she works with to McDonald’s or Starbucks for a treat, the rising cost of fuel feels ‘like a tipping point’ “I don’t expect to have to subsidize my mileage to get to work,” she says.

“I love my job so much, and I would do it even if I know I could earn more elsewhere. But why can’t the government cover the costs of basic things like the fuel we need to deliver those who need us? »

“Our EV saves us £2,000 a year”

Peter Chikin.
Peter Chikin. Photography: Peter Chinkin

Peter Chinkin, 39, scrapped his diesel car at the end of 2020 and took out a second mortgage to buy an electric vehicle (EV). One of the main reasons for the switch was financial: he was spending around £100 a month on diesel, although he estimates it would be around £150 at today’s prices.

Chinkin, a web developer in Norwich, estimates the electric vehicle saves his family around £2,000 a year, including vehicle maintenance and excise duty. “It’s hard not to be really smug with the cost of diesel going up all the time,” he says, explaining that he mostly charges his vehicle during off-peak hours and uses solar panels on his roof. .

Chinkin, who was able to secure a £20,000 loan to buy the vehicle, agrees that while the savings are significant, so is the upfront cost of an electric vehicle. “It’s who can afford it – not everyone has access to cheap credit, certainly in the current climate.”

“Running a car has become impossible”

Alice Palmer got to work on her bike after being unable to afford fuel.
Alice Palmer got to work on her bike after being unable to afford fuel. Photograph: Alice Palmer/supplied by interviewee

Alice Palmer, 35, who lives in Jersey, stopped driving to work in early May after fuel prices became financially unsustainable. “The amount I used to pay only got me half a tank – I kept running out of fuel and then had to cycle for the last few days of the month before I got paid “, she said.

For the education welfare officer, such a journey – which adds an average of 20 minutes to her journey – was previously prohibited. But, as she got in shape and started loving cycling, the change helped her manage her depression. “It was never meant to be a win, but it turned into one – my body and my mental outlook changed,” she said.

“I feel for my friends and colleagues who for whatever reason – childcare, disability, etc. – cannot use a bicycle to get around.” Living on a relatively small island with a decent cycling network means she’s lucky in other ways too, admits Palmer.

Although she doesn’t anticipate being able to afford to drive her 22-year-old car again, winter will be a hindrance. But after asking for an e-bike as part of a work program, Palmer sees no sign of stopping. “I’m going to buy some decent raincoats and high visibility and just go crazy, there’s not much to choose from,” she added.

* This name has been changed

Source link

Back To Top