Staff taking brunt of customer frustration over rising fuel prices

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Staff taking brunt of customer frustration over rising fuel prices

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Staff in filling stations are coming under fire from customers for rising fuel prices, despite having no control over them.

People across the South Hams have been facing the same national pressure on fuel and fuel prices, so we spoke to local filling stations about the situation.

One person we spoke to, who wanted to remain anonymous, told us that some customers have been giving staff members a hard time due to the price of fuel, but said: “We’re almost losing money on fuel at the moment, we’re making peanuts on it when you include staff costs and everything.

“We’re basically keeping the business going until we get busy in the summer.”

While it is obviously not the decision of the customer-facing employees, fuel prices are often not decided by filling stations themselves either and are mainly driven by the big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Texaco.

While these companies will point to the rising cost of oil as the reason for the price hikes, they have posted record profits (from January to September 2021, the net income of the largest oil and gas companies, which includes Exxon, Chevron, Shell and BP, was $174billion).

Prices for fuel are changing so rapidly that the fuel companies are not giving filling stations a price when they order, just when they deliver.

Across the places we spoke to in the South Hams, the highest cost of fuel was 179.9 for a litre of diesel, with the lowest being 162.9 for unleaded. We heard that one of the stations on the A38 was pricing diesel at more than £2 a litre.

Compounding this is the fact that the rebate for red diesel, used a lot in agricultural vehicles and generators, is due to end on 1 April this year, leading to a rush to buy before the price jumps.

The BBC is reporting that the rising fuel prices, especially the cost of diesel, will have a knock on effect on the price of food too. On Thursday they reported: “Increased fuel prices will lead to people paying more for food in shops and restaurants” and “the high cost of diesel will end up being passed on to customers” according to the Federation of Wholesale Distributors.

“Households are facing a cost of living crisis as inflation soars.”

These price hikes will likely hit people in rural areas such as the South Hams harder than others due to the fact many people have no choice but to use their vehicles. Often because they are living in remote villages and public transport is almost non-existent.

However much rising fuel prices are a problem, we should all remember to treat customer service workers with the respect they deserve. Be kind.

 

Prices per litre are correct as of Thursday morning, 10 March:

Malborough Filling Station:                         Unleaded - 1.64     Diesel - 1.71
California Cross Filling Station:                    Unleaded - 1.65     Diesel - 1.77.9
East Charleton Garage:                              Unleaded - 1.67.9   Diesel - 1.70.9
Totnes Cross Filling Station:                        Unleaded - 1.65     Diesel - 1.77
Leonard’s Road Filling Station, Ivybridge:     Unleaded - 1.62.9  Diesel - 1.79.9
Townstal Road Filling Station, Dartmouth:    Unleaded - 1.65     Diesel - 1.77

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