Last Updated on February 25, 2023
Originally posted on an old website of mine called Lawsie.com, I have posted this here as I’m now using this blog as a sort of achieve;
The UK haulage industry and the fuel price protest of 2000.
Finding an alternative fuel to petrol is a subject I am finding increasingly interesting. Here in the UK the cost of petrol and diesel has become almost prohibitive. The haulage industry is now suffering to such an extent that they feel they need to take drastic action. About four years ago (2000) the haulage industry took action en mass. Large numbers of trucks blockaded fuel depots in protest over the high taxes on diesel and petrol. The fact that many of these haulage firms risked going out of business by taking a few days out to protest gives us an idea of how strongly they feel. In addition to these blockages large convoys joined the motorways of the UK and drove extremely slowly. Within a week the UK had nearly ground to a halt. Any petrol and diesel left in the petrol stations was reserved for the emergency services. Throughout all this the general public in the UK appeared to wholly support this action. Sadly nothing changed, or did it?
Tax or alternatives?
Dropping fuel taxes was always the main thrust of the action taken by the haulage industry, they stated and showed clear evidence for the fact that high taxes were putting a lot of companies out of business. Some large haulage firms relocated to mainland Europe, they still drove the same routes around the United Kingdom that they always had, but they could now buy their diesel a lot cheaper. It wasn’t long before the UK government closed this loophole.
Alternatives to fossil fuels
Perhaps instead of trying to fight for cheaper fossil fuels maybe it’s time to look for alternatives. The post below came from the forum on a websites for UK Traders;
“Having recently reached my limit as to what I will pay for fuel, I am considering alternatives.
Public transport is not viable for many reasons. To infrequent and expensive, with inconvenient destinations and can be quite dangerous at times (Night bus in London anyone?).
So that has to be discarded, I agree we need to improve it and the vicous circle is that without customers there isn’t the income to update and modernise. But unless the political will is there no mass transport system can work.
So to be realistic we need to find a cheap alternative to the dependency we have on oil, specifically mineral oil.
The alternatives are slim:
LPG All the drawbacks of petrol, only cheaper.
Fuel Cell – Unproven technology and not available to consumers yet.
Electricity – Still has range issues, I used to run a website for a delivery service in London that ran a whole fleet of Electric Vans on green electricity (bought from Windfarms), and they found it difficult to keep them charged for the rounds. These were real cutting edge vans and they were averaging 50 miles a day.
Really noxious chemicals go into producing these bateries, and the energy used to make them is also quite significant. Add to that the end of life nightmare of disposing of all the storage cells, and the cost of replacement of batteries, which may have to happen two or three times in the life of the vehicle, electric cars are not as green as some people might think.
Vegetable Oil – This is the interesting area to explore. “Chip Fat” cars are a great way to go green, Bio-fuel is about 66p with all taxes, not as cheap as LPG, but then you are not confined to only one supplier, the oil companies.
CO2 Neutral, means that whatever CO2 you produce in waste gases gets neutralised by the next batch of plants growing to create more fuel (plants use C02 and emit Oxygen to photsynthesis). Diesel engines can be easily converted, the fuel esthers are very compatible with the modern Direct Injection systems, you only need to have a preheater in cold climates (minus 5 celcius, so yes that is the UK) and a preheater is useful to start from cold too.
The oils can be too viscous when not at operating temperature, and not pump correcty leading to sludging as well as weak and incorrect spraying into the combustion chamber. These very minor problems could be sorted easily. Currently you are advised to start on Diesel, warm the engine, flip over to Bio-Diesel and then about 5 miles from your destination flip back to diesel to allow for an easy start once you stop.
Out of all the above BioDiesel offers the best hope. It’s cheap to produce (if the Governement removed the tax it would be about 26p a litre) You could use all the currently wasted old vegetable oil from the fast food industry which must run into millions and millions of gallons, encourage more farmers to plant oil crop (hemp is very good for this). And with the huge saving we make not having to prop up puppet dictatorships and send our troops half way around the world to do it, then surely we could use that to produce a truly first class network of public transport?
Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…
I think, therefore, I will buy a diesel car and run it on a diesel/Bio-diesel system, not as cheap as LPG, but at least it doesn’t cost the Earth. “