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Record Profits For Shell

February 1st 2008

UK Fuel Price rises past a pound per litre

Question: What’s £14 billion?

Answer: That’s the profit Shell made in 2007.

Put that in perspective: Thats £444 profit for every second of every hour of every day of every week of every month last year. Whilst I was asleep last night they earned over £10 million in profit. In the time it took me to write this rant they earned another £500,000. It’s also more than the entire GDP of Zimbabwe (random I know, but there you go). Meanwhile us poor mugs, sorry motorists, are being robbed blind, with petrol prices at an all time high. Well, I don’t know about you, but this makes my piss boil.

There has been an email doing the rounds, you may have seen it, which proposes a theory that could just work. If every one of us boycotts a particular fuel brand, they will eventually be forced to lower their prices. Then the other oil companies will have to follow suit. However, for this to really work everyone would have to boycott the same brand (search for "boycott the pumps" on Google for more details) and keep it up until there is a significant drop in price. Going back to the brand after a small drop like 5p/litre wouldn’t help. We’d have to wait for a significant drop before relenting. And, we’d have to be prepared to boycott the brand again if prices started to rise. It’s an interesting theory.

Critics would argue that it’s not the oil companies’ fault that UK prices are so high, it’s the high rate of tax levied by the government, and that most of their profits are not gained at the UK pumps. True, but it’s all relative - petrol prices have risen by 13p/litre in the last six months and only 2p of that was down to an increase in tax. Perhaps it’s just bad timing that Shell announce record profits (the highest ever recorded for a British Company) at a time when the British consumer is paying the highest ever price for their products. But that, my friends, is a difficult pill for the little man on the street to swallow. The UK motorist has been squealing about high fuel prices for years and by putting the squeeze on oil companies in this way, maybe we can get them to squeal for us.

Ultimately, the use of oil based products is not sustainable in the long run, but until the fuel companies, car manufactures and governments really give us viable alternatives it’s only mass action on a national scale that could make a difference.

So, the choice is yours, do something, or carry on paying the price.

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