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September 11, 2005 3:59 PM   Subscribe

Can't beat a good protest, and when Less Tax On Fuel (catchy..) start then this definitely won't be a good protest. It'll be about as much fun as their last one, although their Forum's good for a laugh and will let you voice support when you're stuck at home cause the pumps have ran out as a result of their actions!

While everyone I know agrees that we pay too much for petrol here in the UK, blocking the roads and disrupting supplies isn't going to help. I don't know of anyone who supports a return to the protests of 2000.

And besides, there are some motorways in the UK where they'll be lucky to reach 20mph at rush hour. They might even speed things up..
posted by Nugget (41 comments total)

 
Another week of spending $3.25+ a gallon at the tank, and I'll be ready to found the US arm of the movement.
posted by VulcanMike at 4:04 PM on September 11, 2005


Of all the protests going on across the world, the Welsh haulers 'go slow protest' on the M4 this week will rank as the least inspiring. Ever.
posted by verisimilitude at 4:26 PM on September 11, 2005


(') In case anyone cares. Which I doubt.
posted by verisimilitude at 4:40 PM on September 11, 2005


Why exactly should I care if these people can't feed their gas habit?
posted by jeffburdges at 5:12 PM on September 11, 2005


Idiots. Tax on fuel isn't high enough.
Actually I support this. Anything which limits peoples ability to ferry their kids to school half a mile down the road in a fucking 4x4 is good news to me. Or drive a mile to the local gym so they can spend time running three miles on a treadmill.

everyone I know agrees that we pay too much for petrol here in the UK
Well, that isn't everyone in the UK. Now, is it??
Double it. And then double it again.
Because really, when the time comes that you can't drive your stupid environment destroying machines to work, and you may have to, you know, use public transport, that'll be the time you'll find me laughing my head off.

Thing is, with people in the UK, is that any spare money they save on tax just gets spent greedily forcing house prices up. If they insist on driving, then tax them to fuck. They're just going to waste the extra money anyway. That's what I think.
posted by seanyboy at 5:24 PM on September 11, 2005


Hey UKers — is the picture in the first link a typical gas station sign there? Do you not get the low-, mid- and premium-grade options that we get in the US? (Usually low-grade is 87 octane, mid-grade is 89, and premium is 90-some-odd.) And what's this "gas oil" stuff that's half as expensive as unleaded gasoline?
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:28 PM on September 11, 2005


Ouch nebula, here in Australia, low-grade is 91, mid-grade is 95, and premium is 98 octane. Why is US fuel so low octane?

In any case, any Brits want to elaborate on how fuel taxes work in the UK? I was under the impression (I don't know where from) that they adjust them based on the price of oil, to "soften the impact" of large fluctuations in oil price. Here in Australia, it's just fixed, and I've often thought that the UK system (if that is indeed how it works) would be a nicer idea.

Paying AU$1.37 a litre in Australia today...I don't know if that means much, but a year ago it was about 95c a litre.
posted by Jimbob at 5:34 PM on September 11, 2005


It's times like these I enjoy pointing and laughing at those folks who opted to buy Hummers.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:58 PM on September 11, 2005


Jimbob, we drive cars with bigger, lower-compression engines, so very-high-octane fuel isn't necessary. The harder your engine is squeezing the gasoline, the more of it has to be octane so it won't ignite before the spark plug fires.
posted by nicwolff at 6:19 PM on September 11, 2005


But nicwolff, you drive cars with identical engines to Australia. I know that becuase some of them are made here, while many of the rest are made in the US and imported here. Hmm, interesting, and Jimbob is on the money on our octane ratings. Maybe it's a difference between teh way tehy're emasured, Research Octane Number v Motor Octane Number.

In Australia we pay about 45% of the pump price in taxes. Most people think that's OK (of course there are whingers), but many reckon this should all go into roads. I think that's a totally moronic idea. Tax hypothecation is always bad policy anyway, but if it was to be hypothecated it should go into transport, particularly public transport, and hospitals, for the road trauma, cancer and asthma.
posted by wilful at 6:30 PM on September 11, 2005


"teh way tehy're emasured," ???WTF? Speak english wilful.
posted by wilful at 6:32 PM on September 11, 2005


nebulawindphone: Hey UKers ... Do you not get the low-, mid- and premium-grade options that we get in the US? (Usually low-grade is 87 octane, mid-grade is 89, and premium is 90-some-odd.)

Jimbob: Ouch nebula, here in Australia, low-grade is 91, mid-grade is 95, and premium is 98 octane. Why is US fuel so low octane?

Octane is measured in different ways in different countries, so US octane can't be compared to British or Australian octane directly. US numbers are misleadingly low, or European numbers are misleadingly high, depending on the way you look at it - the fuels available are more similar than the octane ratings would suggest. There are a few links to partial explanations at this Google Answers question.
posted by Western Infidels at 6:36 PM on September 11, 2005


Wait, wait. British cars' fuel efficency is mesured in MPG, but gas is sold as liters?

That's not confusing. I take it the road signs are in kilometers too.
posted by delmoi at 7:57 PM on September 11, 2005


do they still have funny coloured diesel in the UK countryside, which is tax exempt for tractors etc? I remember being at a horse show a long time ago, and inspectors were going round siphoning the contents of diesel range rovers to check they weren't misusing it.
posted by wilful at 10:08 PM on September 11, 2005


But what's the gas oil stuff?
posted by Hactar at 11:24 PM on September 11, 2005


Road fuel duty is charged as a fixed amount per litre, not proportionate to price. Until 2001, the duty rate rose faster than inflation - the infamous fuel price escalator - following a Tory policy designed to reduce overall fuel consumption.

The original fuel protests in 2000, in so far as they had an aim, aimed at ending this escalator. Although they did not officially succeed, the implementation of the escalator raise has been suspended every year but one since then.

If you really want to know how fuel duty works, HM Customs and Revenue has FAQs at the linked page. They also have fuel duty rates for the last five years.

And, seanyboy is spot on.
posted by athenian at 12:06 AM on September 12, 2005


Wait, wait. British cars' fuel efficency is mesured in MPG, but gas is sold as liters? That's not confusing. I take it the road signs are in kilometers too.

No the road signs are in miles. Nobody in the UK really knows what a kilometer is, we work in miles, always have done, probably always will do, that's why fuel efficiency is measured in mpg.

The EU passed a law a few years ago requiring most goods to be sold in metric units, hence the litres of fuel.

It may be the law to sell in metric units, but there are ways round it. This is why you wil find on sale in the UK 0.568 litres of milk, 0.454kg of of beef and 14.17 grams of hash.
posted by bap98189 at 1:17 AM on September 12, 2005


Don't know about 'always will do' - Ireland changed from miles to Km on its signposts a couple of years back. The Swedes even changed from driving on the left!

Metrication was actually adopted as Government policy in 1965, after pressure from industry (the UK joined the then-EEC in 1973). I, as a schoolkid in the 70s, was only taught metric - so I'm fairly au fait with km, m, C, l, etc., as I expect most people are. I tend to judge short distances in metres and longer ones in miles.

Some people think that changing from pints to litres will be The End of Civilisation As We Know It. Others are quite keen.
posted by athenian at 1:53 AM on September 12, 2005


do they still have funny coloured diesel in the UK countryside, which is tax exempt for tractors etc?

Yes, they do. And unauthorised use of red diesel is something that's still an issue. I think it's actually taxed at a lower rate rather than not at all, but I could be wrong about that.
posted by Lebannen at 2:20 AM on September 12, 2005


Yes, quite a lot lower. Those red diesel rules in full: (and I mean in full).
posted by athenian at 2:27 AM on September 12, 2005


Just to point something out to seanyboy, some of us NEED a car. To get to work, to get to a shop, to get to a hospital, to run errands. or anything.

We don't all live in cities and towns where everything we need is within a few minutes walk.

I live way out in the countryside, where there is one...ONE bus a day. No shops, no medical services, no school.

If I want to go anywhere I need a car. I could always cycle, but that isn't always practical.

My sister has a horse. But if you own a horse you need a 4x4 to tow the horsebox to and from events.

Quit being ignorant.
posted by lemonfridge at 4:20 AM on September 12, 2005


lemonfridge : at the risk of starting a Monty Python sketch, you're lucky to get a bus a day. We used to get two buses a week - one toward town and one coming back again. Fecking stupid.

"Gas Oil" is something I've never seen on sale in the UK. I think you're probably thinking of French/European 'Gas-Oil' which is Diesel, IIRC.

Nugget : I support this. Genuinely, I do. I'd rather that the problems were caused by all the hauliers going on strike than by the methods they are using, but the result should/could be similar.

The problem is that we are taxed a fecking huge ammount on fuel over here - the last figure I saw (admittedly a while back) was that a £40 tank of fuel was £32 tax. Can you tell me of anyother market with 400% taxation?

I'd love to use public transport more, but it quite simply isn't a viable option for people who live anywhere but in the middle of town.

seanyboy Sorry? Less tax on car fuel will push house prices up? No... the government's bloody strange rules on house building do that.

Pints / liters : Milk and beer (together with a few other items) were exempted from the metric change over. It was something strange like naming a glass bottle and a glass drinking recepticle a 'pint', so it was a vessel rather than a measure...
posted by twine42 at 5:10 AM on September 12, 2005


In the UK petrol is generally around 90 octane, Esso superplus is 95 and Shell opitmax is 98 octane.

The cost of driving over the years has got cheaper compared to the general raise in peoples salaries.

We in the UK pay the highest duty on our fuel than anyone in the world. I think oil companies charge 27p a litre, the filling stations is around 6p and then the rest, that takes it up to 93p is VAT and duty.

But the current raises in oil prices are due to the prices charged by the oil companies, but the goverment taxing it more - the duty hasnt increased since 2000.

Though the war in iraq may be to blame for some of this, opecs decision to lower its capacity to refine oil and charge more for it is probably more to blame.

In the UK we also have issues such as road tax and the stealth tax (um, speed cameras) that really grate the motorist - speeding tickets now come with an extra fine to help compensate the vitims of crime, which is insane.

The quality of the roads doesnt reflect the billions in tax from fuel duty, speed cameras and road tax. They spend the money else where.

The quality of public transport in this country really aint that great either - plus I hate being on bus, with a baby crying and the pissed old man who stinks of piss sitting next to me - which is the reality of public transport for alot of us (remember we dont all live in london) Infact, we all dont choose to live in crummy cities, but thats where the work is - and on bigger commutes like that, public transport is *not* an option.

I suspect that on balance, the burden driving causes to the NHS and the environment and everything else considered - that driving a car is still subsidised a bit by the goverment.

Cyclists should have to pay tax, or get out the way and they should have to stop at traffic lights and stop taking the piss.

I do wonder what happens if they charged us a lot less for fuel - like would we all have more money to spend on other things? And thus give our money to the goverment through other means?

Personnally I think they should hyper tax smokers and drinkers. They cause more damage to themselves, other people and property and well everything than drivers driving and burden the NHS far more.
posted by 13twelve at 6:40 AM on September 12, 2005


stealth tax (um, speed cameras) that really grate the motorist - speeding tickets now come with an extra fine to help compensate the vitims of crime, which is insane.

It really grates some motorists. I like speed cameras and I'm sometimes a motorist in the UK. Speed cameras work, that's why they're so common. People slow down because they know they're there. They're not hidden. There's usually signs telling you where they are and they're in big boxes painted bright yellow. Obeying speed limits in urban areas doesn't get you anywhere any slower and is safer for people outside of cars. It's very easy to avoid speeding fines - just drive at the speed limit or slower. If motorists would drive with less rapid acceleration up to over the speed limit and hard decceleration to stop at each traffic light or queue, traffic would also move more smoothly, more efficiently, making more efficient use of the limited space available and be less stressful for everyone sharing the road. Speed limits encourage all of that.
posted by normy at 7:44 AM on September 12, 2005


lemonfridge: I'm assuming that you aren't a farmer and the reason you live in the countryside is because your parents prefer to live in some rich mans house in the middle of nowhere. Big Deal. That's a luxury, and you should pay for that privilege. For example... Your sister needs a 4x4 to drive her horse to different places!! Give me a fucking break.

You're a graphic designer. Live near your job. If there's nowhere to live near your job, then change your job.

What you and your spoilt metafilter cohorts are giving me is nothing but excuses. "We don't like to sit next to smelly people on buses". "It's not viable to commute unless you live in the centre of town."

That's rubbish. And don't give me your "you townies don't understand" shit. I've lived in the middle of nowhere half my life and I never needed a car.

One day the Oil is going to run out and the people who need it are going to have been fucked over by people (like you) who didn't need it at all.

And twine42: Yes... less tax on car fuel will push house prices up. Much the same as a drop in interest rates causes house prices to go up. When people have more money on them... ooooh - suprise, house prices go up. I'm not saying that there isn't a link here between supply and demand here. There is. However, that surfeit of demand is squeezing money from whereever it can find it. If tax on fuel went down, it'd come from there.
posted by seanyboy at 10:11 AM on September 12, 2005


And don't get me started on speed cameras. They should start handing out prison sentences to the people who think it's fine to break the law in such a way as to increase the likelyhood of causing someone elses death. (i.e. going faster than they should)
posted by seanyboy at 10:13 AM on September 12, 2005


Normy you clearly dont drive that many places in the UK.

Speed cameras dont work. They criminalise the average Joe.

People just surf the cameras, as in slow down just for the cameras and speed back up again. They do, however cause people to panic break, which does cause accidents. A road in Nottingham now has 50odd less deaths a year now they've taken the cameras away.

The police policy of putting cameras in blackspots can be challenged on most of the cameras - they are quite often placed in areas where people drive over the speed limit, often in places where breaking the speed limmit is no big deal (wide open roads etc.) because they know they'll bring in the dollars.

Not all speed cameras are in open view, infact most break the guidelines on their required visibilty. Certain counties, Derbyshire for example, actually paint their cameras green and put them in bushes.

There is a humongous difference between driving too fast and driving over the speedlimit. One is dangerous and one isnt. This is what really grates me about speed camera fans. What, like they always stick to 30 mph? Whatever.

For example; if I'm driving home on a deserted motorway at 4 am on my own, what difference does it make if I'm doing 120 or 70? I'll only kill myself if I crash.

now tailgating at 50 on a wet motorway in the rain at night with fog isnt illegal in anyways? But very dangerous.

But I'd be the criminal.

Speedlimits defined by councillors with no expertise in the area of setting speed limits and based on facts and figures on breaking distances from the 60s.

The people who speed cameras catch, middle aged business men who clock up tonnes of miles are probably among the safest, most experienced drivers out there.

The people they dont catch, boy racers like me, people who drink and drive, people who take drugs and drive and women ( lol ;-) ), are among the most dangerous drivers on the road.

Yeah sure if we didnt race so hard away from the lights and stop so quickly, traffic would move smoother and their would be less wear on our cars and less petrol used. But for some of us driving is something we enjoy doing - and your description of how driving should be and love of speed cameras would take the pleasure out of it.

(sure you may prefere getting your kicks from some other format and view people who like driving as lower life - horses for courses innit)
posted by 13twelve at 10:14 AM on September 12, 2005


Seanyboy you only hate driving so much because your from Halifax which has one of the worse internal one-way systems known to man ;-)
posted by 13twelve at 10:16 AM on September 12, 2005


You drivers should grow some balls and start behaving responsibly. (And no, I'm not talking about some small group of drivers that need to drive in order to do there job.*)

* = This small group *probably* doesn't include you. You just don't want to stop driving because you're essentially selfish. Think about it. If you lost your licence tomorrow, would you starve? No, you would not. Could 90% of the population cope with losing there cars just fine? Yes. Probably they could.
posted by seanyboy at 10:17 AM on September 12, 2005


I would like to get behind this campaign and well remember admirable radio and television PR initiatives over a year ago. But how can we take seriously literature or websites that do not take the trouble to run spell and grammar checks over texts we are required to take serously. In this instance, smart javascript behind the 'Fill in the form below ..' form yields the disappointing return "A stagering increase of..."

And [sic]
/"Let you friends and colleagues know .."
/"..cannot be held responsible for it's members actions .."
/"..a legal and peaceful protests .."

Okay, they have a lot to do. But I recommend they next seek a volunteer editor.
posted by Schroder at 10:18 AM on September 12, 2005


lol and Seanyboy you also are clearly not a motorist.

It takes a motorist to realise just how pedestrian and how difficult it is to keep a car to a limmit such as 30mph.
posted by 13twelve at 10:19 AM on September 12, 2005


There is a humongous difference between driving too fast and driving over the speedlimit.
The biggest difference is that the speedlimit is chosen logically by a group of people who want to stop car accidents and "what is too fast" is decided randomly and individually by drivers who have no sense.

You only hate driving so much because your from Halifax which has one of the worse internal one-way systems known to man
Don't know about that. I've never, ever needed to drive around Halifax. In fact, I can't think of a single reason why I would need to drive in or around Halifax.
posted by seanyboy at 10:22 AM on September 12, 2005


I was a motorist. The only thing difficult about driving to the speedlimit was coping with the constant abuse from people who clearly knew better than me.

Also, in Leeds (Where I was then), we had (gasp) 20mph speed limits. And it was easy to drive at 20mph also.
posted by seanyboy at 10:24 AM on September 12, 2005


If speed limits where reassessed where actual driving habits of people where taken into consideration, as well as road type, blackspots, rather than using the stock "30, 40, 50, 60, 70" definitions from 50 years ago; then people might actually abide by them. The fact they seem to have no relevance to today means most people will happily ignore them.

Quite why you have such vitriol against motorists I dont know - but there are many reasons for buying a car, even if they boil down to "they make live easier". Whats wrong with that?

You choose to use public transport and thats admirable.

I for one would rather drive the 28 miles to work in a morning as it only takes 40 mins rather than 2:30 on public transport. Excuse me for not wanting to sit next that pissed person that smells of piss for this amount of time. (infact among the people I know who do regulary use public transport, the occurances of assualt and abuse from other users of public transport is reasonably high, muggings etc. Never happened in my car..)

Less seriously; I can't think of a single reason why I would need to drive in or around Halifax. Nor can I. Its a nightmare and then theres nothing there when you do :-) Still Oldham is worse.
posted by 13twelve at 10:33 AM on September 12, 2005


I would rather drive the same speed as traffic than constantly be speedo watching - I know i'd rather have my eyes on the road and not on my dials all the time.

And come off dude, unless your in 3rd or 4th gear and feathering the accelerator: 30 let alone 20 is hard to do.
posted by 13twelve at 10:35 AM on September 12, 2005


I never have understood this hatred of speed cameras. Be annoyed if you're caught, fine, but don't claim some sort of injured righteousness for breaking the frigging law. I break the speed limit ahem, from time to time but I have the good grace and civic spirit to feel bad about it.

And if you think that the speed limits are just too slow for modern driving, I'd point out that the human body hasn't evolved as fast as cars have. Remember that advert with the statistics about how many people die when hit at 30 vs. how many people die when hit at 40?
posted by athenian at 11:25 AM on September 12, 2005


I for one would rather drive the 28 miles to work in a morning as it only takes 40 mins rather than 2:30 on public transport. Excuse me for not wanting to sit next that pissed person that smells of piss for this amount of time.

Obviously with that time difference taking the car is the right choice, but what if it was 40 mins driving vs. 1 hour on public transport? Incidentally, I've commuted 50 miles by train every day for 3 years. Number of pissed people seen (not sat next to): 2.

infact among the people I know who do regulary use public transport, the occurances of assualt and abuse from other users of public transport is reasonably high, muggings etc. Never happened in my car.

Oh come on. What do you think the comparative injury rates are from (a) being assaulted on the train and (b) being injured or killed in a car? 3,500 deaths a year on the road. Loads more injuries. Number of people killed on trains - five? ten? Assaulted - a hundred?
posted by athenian at 11:32 AM on September 12, 2005


Normy you clearly dont drive that many places in the UK.

London, Cambridge, Leicester, Northampton, Leeds, Birmingham - and that was just the month I was there this summer.

Speed cameras dont work. They criminalise the average Joe.

Yes, they do, if the average Joe breaks the speed limit. Why is this a difficult notion? Drive slower, no fine. The reality of the vast majority of UK car journies is that they're short, they're urban or suburban and in those conditions speeding doesn't get you there any quicker. Speeding just gets you to the next red light or queue quicker. No effect on total journey time.

I'm driving home on a deserted motorway at 4 am on my own

...I couldn't care less, it's an irrelevance that represents a tiny fraction of all UK journies by car.

your description of how driving should be and love of speed cameras would take the pleasure out of it

So would killing someone.
posted by normy at 12:05 PM on September 12, 2005


The whole speed limit thing is right up there with vi versus emacs. All the arguments have been made a thousand times over. Give it up, oh ye who would debate it.
posted by sfenders at 3:38 PM on September 12, 2005


lemonfridge: I'm assuming that you aren't a farmer and the reason you live in the countryside is because your parents prefer to live in some rich mans house in the middle of nowhere. Big Deal. That's a luxury, and you should pay for that privilege. For example... Your sister needs a 4x4 to drive her horse to different places!! Give me a fucking break.

No I'm not a famer. I live in the countryside because thats where my parents moved to when they got married. In a bungalow. Hardly a rich mans house.

Yes my sister needs a 4x4 to move her horse around. BECAUSE YOU CANT TAKE A HORSE ON MOTORWAYS. She competes all around the UK, but I guess you think she should just move each time she goes to a new show.

You're making a lot of incorrect assumptions, and coming across as a jackass.

You're a graphic designer. Live near your job. If there's nowhere to live near your job, then change your job.

So every time I change jobs I should move house? Thats retarded. Doing graphic design you tend to leap from one company to another (I happen to have just started working one that wants me long term).

What you and your spoilt metafilter cohorts are giving me is nothing but excuses. "We don't like to sit next to smelly people on buses". "It's not viable to commute unless you live in the centre of town."

Thats because they are valid excuses. Public transport doesnt work for everyone. Now that you mention it, I wouldnt want to sit next to a smelly seanyboy anyway.
posted by lemonfridge at 4:52 AM on September 13, 2005


Personally I've never had a problem with speed cameras. They catch and fine people speeding. People breaking the law.

I dont speed. I am not breaking the law. So I dont care about the cameras. It's the criminals who insist on speeding that cause a stink about cameras and fines.

If you dont want a fine, dont speed.
posted by lemonfridge at 4:55 AM on September 13, 2005


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