EVERY so often, those civil servants responsible for consumers’ interests embark on an investigation into motor fuel prices, in comparison with those applying elsewhere, and, in particular in the UK, where taxation is identical.
Each time, any possibility of objectivity collapses in a plethora of obfuscation and spin. The inevitable conclusion is that Manx mororists are charged fair prices.
The truth, however, does not need an expensive and prolonged inquiry; a piece of paper, a pen and five minutes would come up with a better result.
On Sunday, July 3, and for several days afterwards, the price of diesel in the Isle of Man was 148.9p and, generally, in North West England and North Wales, 134.9p. Even with tax, the price was more than 10 per cent higher, but with duty and VAT removed, a litre of diesel costs 11.671p more here, giving a price which is higher in the Isle of Man by nearly 21.5 per cent. Someone, somewhere in the supply chain is pocketing this differential on every litre of fuel sold.
Excuses citing the costs of supply wear a little thin. Never is it mentioned that direct taxation and business rates are lower here, and that delivery by road tanker after the fuel has arrived in bulk, is over much shorter distances, often under a mile from the harbour.
If Tesco can sell a litre of fruit juice here at the same price as at its stores in the UK, absorbing transport costs to the Isle of Man, why the huge difference when it comes to petrol and diesel?
J. M. OLDHAM,