Richard Dite, 44, who was driving a blue van, held his phone above the steering wheel while driving along the M4 today
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Fuel activists caused delays to several motorways today in co-ordinated demonstrations against soaring petrol and diesel prices, as one protester risked six points and a £200 fine by filming a 30mph ‘go slow’ on his phone.

Richard Dite, 44, who was driving a blue van, held his phone above the steering wheel while driving along the M4 as the protests this morning focused on the stretch of motorway between Bristol and South Wales.

Mr Dite, who also sounded a musical horn from his vehicle which played the Pirates of the Caribbean theme tune, was among about half a dozen vehicles in the procession and shouted ‘give us our country back’ while being filmed by a Wales Online reporter in the car with him – but he also admitted it was ‘not a very good turnout’.

The mobile welder from Maesteg in Bridgend County Borough drives 30 miles to Cardiff for work each day, and said the cost of this is now ‘upwards of £300’ a week, having been around ‘£125 before the price increases’. 

Mr Dite added: ‘I am on the verge of putting my gear in the shed. I would be better off on the dole. That’s not me. I am a worker. Something’s got to happen. They are on about Great Britain. What’s great about it?’

Fuel duty and VAT currently make up 85p of the current average £1.91 for a litre of unleaded petrol according to the RAC – with the recent wave of price hikes fuelled by global oil supply issues after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Richard Dite, 44, who was driving a blue van, held his phone above the steering wheel while driving along the M4 today

Richard Dite, 44, who was driving a blue van, held his phone above the steering wheel while driving along the M4 today

M62, FERRYBRIDGE SERVICES: Motorists face major disruption today amid widespread protests at rising petrol and diesel costs and calls for a cut in fuel duty. Pictured: Fuel protesters are spoken to by police at Ferrybridge Services, West Yorkshire

M62, FERRYBRIDGE SERVICES: Motorists face major disruption today amid widespread protests at rising petrol and diesel costs and calls for a cut in fuel duty. Pictured: Fuel protesters are spoken to by police at Ferrybridge Services, West Yorkshire

M4 PRINCE OF WALES BRIDGE: Chief Superintendent Tom Harding, of Gwent Police, said the force was seeing 'significant delays' both east and westbound on the Prince of Wales Bridge (pictured) due to the planned protest

M4 PRINCE OF WALES BRIDGE: Chief Superintendent Tom Harding, of Gwent Police, said the force was seeing ‘significant delays’ both east and westbound on the Prince of Wales Bridge (pictured) due to the planned protest

M54 SHROPSHIRE: Drivers in vans, trucks and cars are on a go-slow protest on the M54 near Telford in Shropshire today. The Fuel Price Stand Against Tax Group are slowing traffic to 30mph in lanes one and two on the southbound carriageway from J4

M54 SHROPSHIRE: Drivers in vans, trucks and cars are on a go-slow protest on the M54 near Telford in Shropshire today. The Fuel Price Stand Against Tax Group are slowing traffic to 30mph in lanes one and two on the southbound carriageway from J4

A12 ESSEX: Protesters blockade the A12 from Colchester towards London at Kelvedon, in a protest against the cost of fuel

A12 ESSEX: Protesters blockade the A12 from Colchester towards London at Kelvedon, in a protest against the cost of fuel

Anyone caught using their mobile phone while driving in England or Wales can get six penalty points and a £200 fine – and will also lose their licence if they passed their driving test over the last two years. They can also be taken to court where they can be banned from driving or receive a maximum fine of £1,000.

Campaigners today focused on the M4 between Bristol and South Wales, including the Prince of Wales Severn bridge crossing, as part of action calling for a cut in fuel duty.

Where protesters are targeting motorways in fuel demonstrations

  • M4 eastbound J23 – J22, Prince of Wales Bridge closed
  • M4 westbound J22 – J23 Prince of Wales Bridge, 5 miles of slow moving traffic
  • M54 westbound J3 – J5, 20 minute delays and 8 miles of slow moving traffic
  • A12 southbound, between A120 and B1389 near Colchester – 55 minute delays and 10 miles of slow moving traffic
  • M5 both directions, between J28 and J23

The protests are understood to have been organised via social media under the banner Fuel Price Stand Against Tax. Among those gathering at Magor services, near Caldicot, was Vicky Stamper, 41.

The former HGV driver, from Cwmbran, said she and her partner Darren had to leave jobs in Bristol because they could not afford the fuel any longer.

She said: ‘We had to leave those jobs because it was costing us £380 a week just to get to and from work. I then lost a job two weeks ago because the company couldn’t afford to put fuel in that many lorries so last in, first out.’

She said the situation has taken an emotional toll on her and her family.

Talking about the disruption the protest will cause to drivers, Ms Stamper added: ‘We’re doing this for us and for them. If they want to have a moan, they should join us instead.’

Asked what she would ask Prime Minister Boris Johnson to do, she said: ‘Resign.’

Martin Crowley, 48, from Cardiff, said he is a self-employed exotic animal courier and fuel prices are damaging his livelihood.

‘Fuel cost me £280 over two days last week. It’s unbelievable,’ he said. ‘You can hardly make a living anymore.’

In Wales, protest organisers were told by police before leaving they could not stop and must drive no slower than 30mph. Some protesters said they intend to meet in the middle and block the motorway.

Organisers are expected to block the Prince of Wales Bridge crossing between England and Wales, according to police. Essex Police said they are also aware of a planned protest and will work to 'minimise disruption to the public on the county's main roads'. Pictured: A car with stickers on in preparation for today's planned rolling road protest on the M62 , Ferrybridge service station Pontefract, West Yorkshire

Organisers are expected to block the Prince of Wales Bridge crossing between England and Wales, according to police. Essex Police said they are also aware of a planned protest and will work to ‘minimise disruption to the public on the county’s main roads’. Pictured: A car with stickers on in preparation for today’s planned rolling road protest on the M62 , Ferrybridge service station Pontefract, West Yorkshire

For a few minutes, both carriageways of the M4 approaching the Severn crossing were brought to a standstill by go-slow protests travelling east and west.

Two police motorcyclists rode in front of four vehicles travelling at around 30mph from the Bristol area towards South Wales.

There was a marked police patrol car behind the protesters, followed by dozens of queuing motorists.

A larger convoy of protesters drove over the Severn crossing heading into England from Wales with a large backlog of traffic following behind.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he will carefully consider calls for a ‘more substantial’ fuel duty cut after the 5p per litre reduction implemented in March failed to halt price rises.

Figures from data firm Experian show the average price of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts reached a new high of 191.4p on Thursday, while diesel rose to 199.1p.

One fuel protester holding a sign urging drivers to go slow and 'be patient' during a demonstration at the Ferrybridge Services in West Yorkshire

One fuel protester holding a sign urging drivers to go slow and ‘be patient’ during a demonstration at the Ferrybridge Services in West Yorkshire

A protester walks over a police stinger as the police close off the exit junction at Ferrybridge services

A protester walks over a police stinger as the police close off the exit junction at Ferrybridge services

Police speak to motorists at the Ferrybridge Services on the M62, West Yorkshire, today ahead of protests

Police speak to motorists at the Ferrybridge Services on the M62, West Yorkshire, today ahead of protests

The Government said that while it understands people are struggling with rising prices and have a right to protest, ‘people’s day-to-day lives should not be disrupted’ and warned that traffic delays ‘will only add to fuel use’.

Gwent Police said protests are expected to take place on the road network between 7am and 7pm on Monday.

The force said organisers have indicated an intention to block the Prince of Wales Bridge, with the protest starting on the M4 at Magor services, junction 23A eastbound, and junction 20 of the M4 westbound.

Bristol Airport advised travellers to allow extra time for their journeys.

In a tweet, the airport said: ‘Please note that there is a planned fuel protest to block the River Severn Bridge crossings this Monday July 4 from 8.30am.

‘The protest will likely affect the M5, M4 and the two crossings to Wales. Please allow extra time if travelling to or from the airport.’

Chief Superintendent Tom Harding, of Gwent Police, said the force was seeing ‘significant delays’ both east and westbound on the Prince of Wales Bridge due to the planned protest. 

Alongside blocking the M4, the protest will likely have a knock-on impact on the nearby M5 and the A48, according to police.  Avon and Somerset Police also warned of two slow-moving roadblocks in their area. 

Mr Harding said he would encourage drivers to reconsider their journey, consider working from home and avoid the area where possible.  

He said: ‘We are seeing significant delays both east and westbound on the Prince of Wales Bridge due to the planned protest. We are seeking to return traffic to normal as soon as possible. Please keep an eye on our social media channels for further updates throughout the day.’

Fuel protest signage on cars in Leeds, England. Prices for petrol and diesel have risen steadily this year as the price of oil has climbed, due to post-pandemic demand and sanctions against Russia, one of the world's largest oil exporter

Fuel protest signage on cars in Leeds, England. Prices for petrol and diesel have risen steadily this year as the price of oil has climbed, due to post-pandemic demand and sanctions against Russia, one of the world’s largest oil exporter

Pictured: Stand up to fuel price campaigners create a rolling blockade along the M4 towards the Prince of Wales Bridge this morning

Pictured: Stand up to fuel price campaigners create a rolling blockade along the M4 towards the Prince of Wales Bridge this morning

Drivers in vans, trucks and cars are on go-slow protest . The Fuel Price Stand Against Tax Group are slowing traffic to 30mph in lanes one and two on southbound carriageway from Junction 4 on M54

Drivers in vans, trucks and cars are on go-slow protest . The Fuel Price Stand Against Tax Group are slowing traffic to 30mph in lanes one and two on southbound carriageway from Junction 4 on M54

Despite efforts from G7 leaders to place a market cap on the price of Russian oil, the eastern state could drop daily crude production by five million barrels without excessive damage to their economy, financial analysts have concluded

 Despite efforts from G7 leaders to place a market cap on the price of Russian oil, the eastern state could drop daily crude production by five million barrels without excessive damage to their economy, financial analysts have concluded

Meanwhile, Avon and Somerset Police said two slow-moving roadblocks in the force area have a potential to cause disruption – one on the M4 westbound, travelling from junction 17 towards Wales, and another on the M5 northbound, due to travel from junction 24 towards Almondsbury Interchange later.

Supermarket giants have lost their ‘appetite’ to cut fuel prices, drivers warned – as retailers report surge in verbal abuse towards forecourt staff 

Supermarkets have stopped cutting fuel prices to entice customers to their forecourts in spite of a dip in wholesale costs, motorists have been warned.

Figures from data firm Experian show that the big four supermarkets have not passed on their savings to their customers even as the cost of living crisis bites.

Latest numbers show that the average price of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts reached a new high of 191.4p on Thursday, while diesel rose to 199.1p. 

The unprecedentedly sky high prices have driven a wave of verbal abuse towards forecourt staff by angry drivers, retailers have reported. 

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said the rise in the price of petrol illustrates ‘the biggest retailers’ resistance to reduce their pump prices in line with the lower wholesale cost of unleaded’.

He went on: ‘Rather than passing on some of the savings they are benefiting from, they are clearly banking on the wholesale market moving up again which is disappointing for drivers who are desperate to see an end to ever-rising prices.

‘Sadly, there no longer seems to be any appetite among the big four supermarkets to drive customers into their stores with lower pump prices.

Avon and Somerset police tweeted: ‘A slow-moving rolling roadblock is under way on the M4. A number of vehicles will head east over the Prince of Wales Bridge and expected to exit the M4 at J22 (Pilning).

‘There they plan to re-join westbound towards Wales. A similar protest from the England side is also expected.’

Bristol Airport advised travellers to allow extra time for their journeys.

Elsewhere, Essex Police said it was aware of planned protests and vowed to ‘minimise disruption to the public on the county’s main roads’.

Essex Police Chief Inspector Anna Granger said her officers ‘are experienced at dealing with incidents which cause significant disruption’.

She said: ‘We will be monitoring the situation closely and have a policing operation in place to limit disruption.’

And in West Yorkshire, a group of protesters were spotted in discussions with police at the M62 Ferrbyridge Services. Police had deployed stingers to block protesters from leaving the service station.

Gloucestershire Police said protests are likely to affect the A48, causing travel disruption in the Gloucester and Forest of Dean areas.

A protest on the M180 near Scunthorpe also caused disruption, before being ‘turned back’ by police.

Meanwhile, Devon and Cornwall Police tweeted: ‘We are aware of a go-slow protest having commenced at 7:10am from Exeter Services heading northbound. ‘This is currently around a dozen vehicles in size and is being accompanied by police vehicles to ensure the safety of all road users.’

Other major roads could also be affected today, according to campaign group FairFuelUK.

The organisation is not involved in the action but founder Howard Cox said he is ‘fully supportive’ of the demonstrations so long as they are conducted legally.

Gwent Police said it is working with Avon and Somerset Police and neighbouring forces as they prepare for ‘serious disruption throughout the day’.

Mr Cox said he believes the protests will target mainly three-lane motorways and see slow-downs on two lanes, leaving the fast lane clear for traffic to pass.

Mr Cox said: ‘I totally support their protest because people have reached the end of their tethers at the moment.’

He said other countries had cut fuel duty by more than the UK and asked ‘why the hell are we not doing it here?’

Last week, Mr Sunak told MPs he will carefully consider calls for a ‘more substantial’ fuel duty cut after the 5p per litre reduction implemented in March failed to halt price rises.

Mr Cox called for a cut of at least 20p, and warned that protests will continue if not. He said: ‘There is an appetite (for such protest). If the Government don’t actually deliver on this, I think there’s going to be some serious escalation of protests.’

A Government spokesman said: ‘We understand that people are struggling with rising prices which is why we have made the biggest cut ever on all fuel duty rates, saving the average UK car driver around £100, van driver around £200 and haulier over £1,500.

‘While we respect the right to protest, people’s day-to-day lives should not be disrupted, especially on busy motorways where lives are put at risk and resulting traffic delays will only add to fuel use.

‘The new Public Order Bill will make it a criminal offence to glue yourself to a dangerous motorway, which sees police spending hours trying to safely remove people.’

Global oil prices could QUADRUPLE to $380 a barrel if Putin cuts supplies even further in revenge for Western sanctions, experts warn 

By Jacob Thorburn for MailOnline 

Global oil prices could hit an eye-wateringly high of $380 a barrel if Vladimir Putin responds to sanctions with cuts to crude oil output, financial experts have warned.

JPMorgan Chase analysts fear the ‘stratospheric’ rise, which would almost quadruple the current price of a barrel of Brent crude, could be fuelled by a retaliation against continued US and European penalties levied against Russia. 

Despite efforts from G7 leaders to place a market cap on the price of Russian oil, the eastern state could drop daily crude production by five million barrels without excessive damage to their economy, financial analysts have concluded.

The impact of such a severe drop in the supply of oil would have a devastating ripple effect for both global markets and consumers.

JPMorgan warned a three million barrel cut to daily supplies would push London’s prices of crude to around $190 a barrel, with the doomsday scenario of a reduction of five million a day meaning prices surge to $380 a barrel, reports Bloomsberg.

‘The most obvious and likely risk with a price cap is that Russia might choose not to participate and instead retaliate by reducing exports,’ the analysts argued.

‘It is likely that the government could retaliate by cutting output as a way to inflict pain on the West. The tightness of the global oil market is on Russia’s side.’

JPMorgan warned a three million barrel cut to daily supplies would push prices of crude to around $190 a barrel, with the doomsday scenario of a reduction of five million a day meaning prices surge to $380 a barrel, reports Bloomsberg

JPMorgan warned a three million barrel cut to daily supplies would push prices of crude to around $190 a barrel, with the doomsday scenario of a reduction of five million a day meaning prices surge to $380 a barrel, reports Bloomsberg

JPMorgan Chase analysts fear the 'stratospheric' rise, which would almost quadruple the current price of a barrel of Brent crude, could be fuelled by a retaliation against continued US and European sanctions levelled against Russia

JPMorgan Chase analysts fear the ‘stratospheric’ rise, which would almost quadruple the current price of a barrel of Brent crude, could be fuelled by a retaliation against continued US and European sanctions levelled against Russia

Motorists can currently expect to pay around 191p per litre according to data from the AA

Motorists can currently expect to pay around 191p per litre according to data from the AA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) stated Russia’s crude oil output rose to around 10.55 million barrels a day in May.

Despite western sanctions, Vladimir Putin’s coffers were given a $20billion boos that month as surging prices saw Russia generate an extra $1.7bn compared to April.

The IEA further warned that global oil supplies could ‘struggle to keep pace with demand’ in 2023 if sanctions tightened on Russia. 

The price of a barrel of crude oil currently sits just shy of $120 a barrel, which is almost double the price it was this time last year. 

The OPEC oil cartel and allied producing nations decided Thursday to increase production of crude oil, but the amount will likely do little to relieve high prices at the pump and energy-fueled inflation plaguing the global economy.

U.S. crude oil prices fell 2.4 percent on the day, but are still up 42 percent in 2022.

It comes as the latest numbers show that the average price of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts reached a new high of 191.4p on Thursday, while diesel rose to 199.1p.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said the rise in the price of petrol illustrates ‘the biggest retailers’ resistance to reduce their pump prices in line with the lower wholesale cost of unleaded’.

He went on: ‘Rather than passing on some of the savings they are benefiting from, they are clearly banking on the wholesale market moving up again which is disappointing for drivers who are desperate to see an end to ever-rising prices.

‘Sadly, there no longer seems to be any appetite among the big four supermarkets to drive customers into their stores with lower pump prices.

‘We question whether we will ever see much competition between supermarkets over fuel again, let alone a so-called ‘price war”.

The wholesale price includes product cost and fuel duty. The retail price includes product cost, fuel duty, delivery and distribution, retail margin (forecourt costs and retailer’s profit) and VAT. 

Petrol retailers have come in for sharp criticism for a ‘classic example of rocket and feather pricing’, with pump prices not mirroring wholesale costs.

Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development from April 2021 until April 2022 shows U.S. inflation has been rising steadily above all other nations

Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development from April 2021 until April 2022 shows U.S. inflation has been rising steadily above all other nations

The concept of rocket and feather pricing for fuel involves retailers quickly hiking pump prices when the cost of oil rises, but being slow to pass on the benefits of decreases in oil prices. 

The RAC claimed significant reductions in wholesale costs for petrol mean companies have a ‘clear opportunity’ to stop continuously hiking pump prices. 

And drivers across Britain have been letting front line workers know about their feelings towards the retailers’ unwarranted price hiking.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy at the AA, said: ‘With Wimbledon well under way, drivers may be forgiven for borrowing the iconic rant from John McEnroe as they pull up to the pump – ‘You cannot be serious!’.

Asked yesterday if another fuel duty cut could be on the cards, a spokesman for Boris Johnson highlighted the 5p cut in March ‘which we’ve repeatedly called on all retailers to pass on to consumers’.

Pressed on the subject he added: ‘Well, as the Chancellor said before, we obviously keep the support we provide to the public under review. And that obviously remains the case.’

The Competition and Markets Authority launched a ‘short and focused review’ of fuel prices earlier this month after a request by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

Prices at UK forecourts reached a new high of 191.4p on Thursday, while diesel rose to 199.1p, the latest 24-hour period figures are available for. Pictured: BP Petrol station at Reading Services this week

Prices at UK forecourts reached a new high of 191.4p on Thursday, while diesel rose to 199.1p, the latest 24-hour period figures are available for. Pictured: BP Petrol station at Reading Services this week

A 5p per litre reduction in fuel duty implemented by the Treasury in March has not stopped prices from soaring.

Retailers hit back at accustions of ‘rocket and feather pricing’, claiming to have been ‘unfairly scapegoated’ for the price rises and arguing that the 5p saving had been passed on. 

Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, commented: ‘The briefings provided by Government spokespeople to the media indicate that ministers do not understand how fuel prices are set. 

‘We have contacted the secretary of state for business on multiple occasions offering to meet and explain fuel pricing. However, we are yet to receive a response.’ 

The furore over petrol pricing has prompted fuel thefts at forecourts to surge by up to 61 per cent as drivers struggle to afford spiralling pump prices.

Industry bosses revealed the worrying trend yesterday, with about 50,000 ‘drive-offs’ and ‘no means to pay’ incidents happening monthly across the UK.

The average value of each fuel theft has surged from £53.28 to £78.19 and Mr Balmer said that it could cost the industry £25 million a year.

He said ‘drive-offs’ – where a motorist fills up and makes no attempt to pay – and people being unable to pay had collectively surged 61 per cent this year compared with the same period last year. He said: ‘In terms of fuel thefts, it’s going through the roof.

‘We also then have ‘no means to pay’ incidents, when somebody fills up and then they say they have left their wallet or purse at home and can’t pay. That comes in at about another £16 million.

He said police refuse to deal with the incidents valued at less than £100. 

 

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