Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thank you, Vince Cable!

Vince Cable was on Today at about 7.45am this morning and beautifully answered the question: "What is Vince Cable for?". An economist who used to work for Shell. Just the man to help explain the fuel crisis.

And he did. All those panicky headlines about the end of oil, burning tyres in France, protesting lorry drivers etc have created a state of confusion in my head. But good old Vince shone some light onto it all.

It is wrong to think of it as one single "fuel crisis" because it is a combination of different things, he said

Take fisherpeople, for example. Vince said that he spoke to fisherpeople in Shetland recently and they explained that when their fuel costs go up, they can't pass it on in their prices. That is a long term issue which is do with a problem with the structure of their market.

Then take lorry drivers. The problem for hauliers in the UK is not just rising diesel prices but the competition they are facing from non-UK lorries in the UK. In fact, a very articulate haulier lady explained this on PM last night. I slightly lost the plot in listening to her explanation, but it seemed to be something to do with axles and non-UK lorries being able to have larger fuel tanks which make them more competitive than UK lorries.

Vince also reassured us that the market would, in the long term, correct itself and we should hopefully see a lowering of fuel prices and hopefully adjustments such as fuel economy and alternative energy sources coming on stream.

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