Britain is on the cusp of running out of diesel fuel because the island nation is too dependent on foreign imports.
The RAC Foundation, a transport policy and research organisation, said in a new report titled “Readdressing the balance between petrol and diesel demand” that diesel is being sold as twice as fast as petrol and by 2030 it is predicted that diesel could be selling four times as fast.
In turn, the RAC Foundation said this will create a massive gap between what consumers demand and what the Britain can supply and therefore will force the country to depend on foreign imports more.
“Most of our refineries — some of which are more than half a century old – were built when diesel was a niche product. Retrofitting them is a billion pound decision that has failed to stack up for investors who see refining as a low margin business despite our sky high pump-prices. The result: since 2009 three UK refineries have closed, and others have been up for sale,” said Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, in a statement.
“That leaves us at the mercy of the global market and much of the rest of Europe is in the same boat. We are having to look further and further afield for the fuel we need. Recently motorists have benefited from falling forecourt prices. We should be concerned about the potential for things to go the other way.”
Latest data shows that Britain heavily relies on diesel imports because of the closure in refineries in the UK. In 2013, 45% of the Britain’s diesel needs were met by imports whereas the UK are net exporters of petrol.
Our growing dependence on imports is partly down to the closure of refineries. Currently there are six up for sale.
RAC Foundation data shows that demand for diesel in Britain rose 76% over the past two decades compared with a 46% decrease for petrol. In August, diesel prices fell for the first time since January 2010 to an average price of 113p per litre due to the collapse in oil prices. Petrol is around 115.24p.
The number of family cars that take diesel has jumped from 1.6 million in 1994, to 11 million in 2014.
Vans, lorries and other commercial vehicles usually take this type of fuel. The RAC Foundation hinted that this could affect businesses as the number of heavy goods vehicles taking diesel has risen from 421,000 in 1994 to 474,000 in 2014.
“Ministers have just announced plans to curb air pollution with potentially significant implications for the millions of households who run a diesel vehicle,” said Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, in a statement. “As this report illustrates, diesel-engined cars, van and lorries are deeply engrained in our society. The report also highlights another concern — the security of supply of diesel fuel.
“Today every other car bought is a diesel, but our refineries have struggled to keep pace with demand and have not attracted the investment they need to switch over from petrol production.”
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