Fuel Surcharges

BBC Brent Crude price at close 22-05-08This month Wightlink -one of the main ferry companies operating between the Isle of Wight and mainland UK – introduced a fuel surcharge which “is linked to the price of oil (Brent Crude)”. Wightlink’s surcharge is based on the previos month average, which looks from here to be within the $105-115/barrel bracket for April 08. Wightlink have published a chart which shows their surcharge against month-start oil prices, which shows that the surcharge this month (if my figures are about right) is therefore £0.20 on foot passengers, £1.50 on cars, and so on.

While the local newspaper carries a set of letters from upset locals despairing at the increase in prices, I don’t think anybody has really noticed that it is a linked price, which means that come the first of every month it will be revised again. Based on current figures, my thumb-in-air guess is that we should sit in the $115-$125 bracket, which puts the surcharge at £0.25 and £2.00 for foot passengers and cars respectively.

Today; Brent Crude briefly hit a $135/barrel high and if prices continue to hover around or above the £135 mark we can expect another surcharge increase in July (in fact, Wightlink would have to republish their charts, since they don’t cover £135+!)

The simple evident fact is that we appear to be witnessing a potential £0.50 increase every month (for foot passengers alone) as long as the oil prices continue to grow at this pace. Naturally the oil prices may stagnate, or even decline – I’m certainly no expert on oil economics, but I think it’s really beginning to hit home how directly our lives are influenced by what appears to be a very unstable commodity.