RMI Petrol has kicked off the New Year by writing to the Chancellor with a Briefing Paper urging reform of fuel tax ahead of the deferred duty increase on August 1. As detailed in the Autumn Statement on November 30, this will be 3.02 pence per litre (ppl) plus 20% VAT making a total increase of 4.00ppl at the pumps.

RMIP chairman Brian Madderson explained that while Government has little control over global demand and pricing of crude oil nor of the vital exchange rate between £sterling and US$, the international petro-currency, it has absolute control over UK taxation.

"While all taxes are unpopular, it is suggested that fuel tax now tops the list because, as the Chancellor said in his Autumn Statement: ’It (fuel) is not a luxury for most people – it is a necessity...’.

"By openly recognising this fact, Government must also recognise that it is a deeply flawed tax, as not being directly related to income or wealth, it becomes a  ’consumption’ tax. Therefore it unfairly penalises working families, low income earners, rural communities and businesses and many other poorer sectors of our society."

Fuel crime is escalating, retailers are shutting up shop, commercial businesses are closing, unemployment increasing and the economy stalling – these examples are provided in the RMI Petrol Briefing Paper which relate directly to the negative impact of high fuel prices.

"Fuel volumes have collapsed again in 2011, which with already tight margins for the independent forecourt operators, will lead to further site closures," stressed Madderson. "As Palmer & Harvey detailed in its ’Forecourt Report 2011’, published last quarter, the UK is fast becoming a nation of fuel deserts not just in rural areas but in urban areas too. Thus motorists will have to drive further and pay more just to fill their vehicles.

”It must be time for change and new thinking on fuel tax to provide a much needed boost to our society and to the economy. The consequences of continuing to hit the motorist and consumer with this unfair tax are now clear to all as so passionately debated by MP’s in the House of Commons on November 15 and led by Robert Halfon MP (Conservative – Harlow).”