By Andrew Lye
Since being asked some three hours ago to write a piece on the impact of fuel prices on my way of life, I have just been from my home in Johnston, to do a job in Goodwick, near Fishguard. A 41-mile round trip.
I am like most people in Wales and the UK who fill up at the petrol pump and find another £50 goes into the fuel tank, which doesn’t seem to last very long.
I live in the village of Johnston and from the top of my lane, I can see the Chevron refinery at Pembroke and the Murco refinery near Milford Haven.
Yet we also seem to pay more for our fuel than places like Cardiff and Caerphilly, where I was last weekend.
Being self employed, I work from home and cover Pembrokeshire and go as far as Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion. Since I moved here 10 years ago from Wiltshire, I see everyday here as a holiday.
Pembrokeshire is just SO beautiful, whether its the coast line, the beaches, the countryside, or the Preseli Hills. But then again, I also think Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion are ALSO so beautiful, as is most of Wales. I was in Lidl in Caerphilly and the stunning view of the mountains is difficult to beat. Wales is just SO beautiful.
As a Liberal Democrat, I am very concerned about the environment and the effect the car has on it, so I have always tried to be very careful in my motoring. I take UK holidays, as air miles do not reflect the true cost of the damage they does to the environment.
However, in the last year or so, all motorists have stood idly by as the price of petrol seems to rise almost every week and has rarely dropped. In any case, the experts tell us that all petrol is going to do is carry on rising.
This has made me try to be even cleverer in ensuring I can minimise my working miles. I have even been refusing jobs from companies I work for if the mileage does not cover my costs and enable me to live. I do tell them that if they can get me a Tardis, I would be happy then to do the job. In my 51 years, I have never heard Doctor Who saying he had to refuel!
If I wasn’t working on a Saturday afternoon, I would pop into Haverfordwest to wander round the shops. Now, I stay at home and do things in the house or garden. So whilst I am cutting back on my fuel use, its also impacting on the local economy as I am sure other motorists must be doing the same.
Food shopping is done when I am out working so no additional miles used just to go to the supermarket.
For the odds and sods, I use Ebay, Play or Amazon to save me time and fuel and probably buy it cheaper. And, the postman delivers it to my door. My most recent purchase was a pair of nail clippers for the dog. I paid £8.50 for a pair at the vet two years ago. (I managed to mislay them.) The same pair I bought on Ebay, cost £4.65. Brand new.
I havent resorted to switching the engine off when I drive down a hill to say money, but we are all having to be very careful. But in my work and my life, we all have to find ways to save money and I remember the Channel 4 programme, Superscrimpers.
I am also contemplating giving up the holiday this year, as the cost of the fuel is very off putting. I live in Pembrokeshire. Why do you need to go away when we have everything on the doorstep? Its either that, or go to my Mum’s in Wiltshire and take some days out to go to the places of my youth.
Yes, we are all being hit by the price of fuel and I am dismayed that the Government (which ever party is in Government) just sees the motorist as a cash cow.
So many of us have no alternative but to pay up to do our work. The more we pay for our petrol (and gas and electricity) means we have less money to spend on food and the other things we need to live and the extras like holidays and breaks will have to be cut.
I feel the economy is still facing a tough time and our politicians don’t seem to care but you cant squeeze a lemon to get more juice out of it, if it has already been well and truly squeezed and thats how we motorists are feeling.
In the meantime, if ANYONE can tell me where I can get a Tardis, can they please contact me via my Facebook page or on Twitter @AndrewLye. I don’t live in hope.
Andrew Lye is a self employed 51-year-old resident of Johnston in Pembrokeshire transplanted from Wiltshire. His response comes from today’s RAC annual motoring report that shows how fuel prices are forcing people in rural areas to cut their driving.