Executives at the British-Dutch company were jubilant after reporting a £4.3billion surplus for the final quarter of last year. But critics pointed out that the “strong financial performance” came at the expense of millions of drivers. Campaigners are demanding a new watchdog for pump prices after they rose more than 11 percent year-on-year.
They pointed out that profits made by fuel retailers on every unit of petrol have rocketed by 60 percent to 13p per litre.
Howard Cox, founder of pressure group FairFuelUK, said: “Greedy oil companies continue to ride roughshod over hard-working, low income families and small businesses.
“Faceless profiteering opportunists in the fuel supply chain exploit millions of motorists, because this essential commodity and its pricing goes unchecked.”
Tory MP Kirstene Hair, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on fair fuel, said: “This is clearly good news for Shell and its shareholders.
“However, UK motorists will wonder why they do not see any benefit at the pumps.
“Many will feel that ordinary drivers and businesses are seen as cash cows while oil majors rake in profits.”
Shell, full name Royal Dutch Shell, said its annual profits increased 36 per cent last year to £16.3billion.
Company profits were better than predicted and reached their highest level in four years because of rises in global oil prices.
Shell, which also benefitted from massive cost-cutting, was also able to offer its shareholders a dividend of 36p per share.
Chief executive Ben van Beurden said: “Shell delivered a very strong financial performance in 2018.
We delivered on our promises for the year, starting up key growth projects while maintaining discipline on capital investment.”
Last month, the parliamentary group called for a watchdog – to be called PumpWatch – to monitor the cost of petrol and diesel.
The average price of petrol rose 11 percent from 116.6p in August 2017 to 129.9p in August 2018. It later reached 130p but has since dropped to about 120p.
By HOWARD COX, Founder of FairFuelUK
SHELL’S announcement shows how their fortunes contrast with those of drivers who have to buy petrol.
We have said consistently that a price regulator is needed to bring the spiralling rise in petrol prices under control.
When oil prices rise and fall, millions of drivers have no idea what they will subsequently pay at the pumps.
There is no consistency, logic or clarity to the way pump prices are calculated. It is way past time that the Government checked this chronic opportunistic profi teering.
We are proposing PumpWatch, an independent pricing watchdog charged with putting a brake on profi teering.
Drivers need a fair deal now as the fat cats get fatter.
Published at Fri, 01 Feb 2019 15:29:00 +0000