Usually at this time of the year we advise our readers on the ‘joys’ of bank holiday driving and how to conserve their fuel on long journeys – did you know that around 77 percent of us Brits usually travel over Easter, spending four hours and 30 minutes in the car, travelling a distance of 220 miles?
But alas this year, after the Government sparked the craziest fuel panic buying we can remember, many of us just don’t think it’s worth the bother.
The AA has predicted there will be two million fewer motorists taking to the road this bank holiday weekend because of record high petrol prices and lingering anxieties about fuel supplies.
Before the mad fuel panic, record average petrol prices were set at 140.9p per litre for unleaded and 147.1p per litre for diesel. But last week saw prices rise up to 10p per litre higher than this, sparking accusations of forecourts profiteering from the panic buying.
Even more damning is the suggestion the Treasury enjoyed a £33million tax windfall from the extra fuel sales – the chaos was fuelled by its own poor advice in the first place!
If fuel prices remain at these record levels, families could find filling a 50-litre tank will cost them £4.39 more than this time last year and £11.30 more than two years ago.
Paul Watters, an AA spokesman, has said: “Many of the drivers who felt compelled to fill their tanks to the brim last week now face another £70 or more hit if they set off on a driving break this Easter.”
But it’s not just petrol prices scaring off would-be holidaymakers this spring. The weather’s been torrid and unpredictable – flip flops one week, snow boots the next.
Traffic in the north east of England was brought to a standstill yesterday by gale-force winds, snow sleet and rain, while the M62 motorway between Manchester and Huddersfield closed due to 10 HGVs becoming stranded in blizzards. In Oldham a snowplough had to be dug out by mountain rescue.
The AA says journeys will peak today, on Maundy Thursday, but four in ten of its members will be staying at home this Easter. This spells bad news for businesses that rely on tourist spending.
Author: Anthony Hobbs
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