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Record UK Gasoline Prices See Biggest Daily Surge In 17 Years

Record UK Gasoline Prices See Biggest Daily Surge In 17 Years

UK gasoline prices continue to set records, with the daily price jump between Monday and Tuesday at its highest in 17 years, RAC, the UK’s longest-serving motoring organization, says.

“The average price of petrol endured its biggest daily jump in 17 years by going more than 2p (2.23p) a litre on Tuesday (7 June), taking it to nearly 181p a litre (180.73p),” RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said as carried by Auto Express.

Gasoline prices were at a record high of $2.27 (£1.81) per liter, or around $8.60 per U.S. gallon, on Tuesday, according to data from RAC Fuel Watch, which expects prices to continue rising in the near term.

“These are unprecedented times in terms of the accelerating cost of forecourt fuel. Sadly, it seems we are still some way from the peak,” RAC’s Williams said.

A full tank of gasoline for a typical family car has now jumped to $125 (£99.40), up from $120 (£95.16) at the start of last week. The £100 per full tank mark could be reached as soon as on Thursday, analysts say.

“With analysts predicting that oil will average $135 a barrel for the rest of this year drivers need to brace themselves for average fuel prices rocketing to £2 a litre which would mean a fill-up would rise to an unbelievable £110,” RAC said earlier this week.

The new record highs in gasoline prices add to the cost-of-living crisis in the UK where energy bills are set to surge this autumn.

Gasoline prices are soaring in the United States, too. The average gasoline price in America was $4.955 a gallon on June 8, up by a massive $0.30 jump in one week.

Gasoline prices set a new record for the 10th straight day and Americans are now spending over $700 million more per day on gasoline versus a year ago, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for fuel-savings app GasBuddy, said on Wednesday.

Six Million Britons Could Face Power Rationing If Russia Cuts Supplies 

Six Million Britons Could Face Power Rationing If Russia Cuts Supplies 

Millions of UK households could face a treacherous winter riddled with power blackouts if Russian natural gas supplies to Europe stop, according to The Times, citing a government report.

Officials from Whitehall have drawn up a “reasonable” worst-case scenario, outlining widespread natgas shortages are possible if Russia continues to tighten the supplies to Europe.

A Whitehall source said:

 “As a responsible government, it is right that we plan for every single extreme scenario, however unlikely.

“Britain is well prepared for any supply disruptions. Unlike EU countries, our North Sea gas reserves are being pumped out at full pelt, Norwegian rigs are directly connected into the UK, and we have the second-largest LNG import infrastructure in Europe – whereas Germany has none.”

The model assumes UK natgas imports from Norway could be slashed by half. Then it assumes no imports of natgas from interconnectors in the Netherlands and Belgium, due to protectionist measures. This would cause authorities to shutter UK natgas power plants and energy-intensive industrial facilities to keep natgas flowing to households.

Reducing natgas power generating capacity on the grid would trigger rolling blackouts for six million homes. Rationing of power would be during peak weekdays between 0700-1000 to 1600-2100.

The UK has vowed to phase out Russian fossil fuels and simultaneously extend the lifespan of Somerset nuclear power plant Hinkley Point B for 18 months despite decommissioning plans at the aging facility and extending the life at coal-fired power plants despite the greenifying of the economy (this will outrage climate alarmist Greta Thunberg).

The Whitehall source added: “Given the EU’s historical dependence on Putin’s gas, the winter could be very hard for countries on the continent.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

This time really is different

This time really is different

The UK may have avoided a technical recession – two successive quarters of negative growth – in the first half of 2022, but a year from now this will be of little comfort.  This is because – despite the protestations of the US Bidon administration – the downturn in economic activity in the latest (February) growth figures – 0.1 percent, down from 0.8 percent in January – has nothing to do with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.  Rather, the decline in economic activity is the result, primarily, of a massive global shortfall in energy, with fossil fuel extraction impaired by the lack of investment during the lockdowns, and with oil down some four million barrels a day from its November 2018 peak.

Last autumn, these energy shortages translated into painful spikes in prices, which helped fan the flames of a general inflation resulting from broken supply chains and the rapid spending of two-years’ worth of state pandemic handouts – mostly to corporations and the wealthier half of the population.  Much of the additional demand generated by state spending, however, has already disappeared – in part due to the additional price of almost everything within the economy at a time when wages are failing to keep up.

In this, at least, the inflation of the 2020s is very different to its 1970s cousin.  In those days, wages were protected by a combination of strong trade unions, governments committed to maintaining full-employment, and financial controls that prevented investor-flight.  None of those constraints exists today and are not compensated for by a minimum wage which, if set too high, can only result in fewer jobs.  In a few sectors of the economy – such as HGV haulage last autumn – market forces have driven up wages.  Although even here, employers have preferred to offer golden handshakes rather than an increase in the hourly wage…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UK Households Struggle As Inflation Hits 30-Year High, New Taxes Kick In

UK Households Struggle As Inflation Hits 30-Year High, New Taxes Kick In

Millions of Britons who previously found themselves financially ‘comfortable’ are feeling the heat over accelerating inflation, record energy bills, and tax increases which kick in this year.

A food bank for military veterans in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England. The Food Foundation survey found that 16% of people surveyed cut back on food to afford other essentials © Nathan Stirk/Getty

According to the Bank of England, scorching inflation will result in the largest drop in disposable income in 30 years when adjusted for inflation.

In April, UK energy bills are due to jump 54% to around 2,000 pounds ($2,723) a year per household. While some of it will be offset by emergency government support – and social security will also increase, it will be against the backdrop of rising interest rates according to Reuters.

“There’s just too much going up at once,” said 38-yaer-old care worker Nicola Frape, who huddles under blankets with her 14-year-old daughter to conserve heat, and have limited roadtrips due to the price of gas. “The pressure is just going to be even worse in April,” she added.

With economies around the world rebounding from coronavirus lockdowns, prices for everything from food and clothes to haircuts and rent, as well as energy are going up, fuelled by resurgent demand and shortages due to supply chain disruptions.

Accurate national comparisons of changes in living standards are hard to make but concerns about inflation are emerging as a big factor in elections including France’s presidential race in April and U.S. midterm elections in November. -Reuters

A February survey found that the number of people experiencing food insecurity was 20% higher in January than the previous six months, according to FT.

The decline in living standards for much of the UK population prompted chancellor Rishi Sunak last week to announce a £9bn package to help struggling households.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Largest UK Supermarket Warns “Worst Has Yet To Come” Amid Food Inflation Crisis

Largest UK Supermarket Warns “Worst Has Yet To Come” Amid Food Inflation Crisis

Britain’s largest supermarket chain warned “the worst is yet to come” on food inflation as the cost-of-living crisis pulverizes the working poor. 

John Allan, chairman of Tesco Plc, told the BBC’s Sunday Morning Live that low-income households have difficulty choosing between food and heat this winter. Budgets are tight, triggering a ‘winter of discontent’ if widespread inflation doesn’t diminish.

In some ways, the worst is still to come – because although food price inflation in Tesco last quarter was only 1%, we are impacted by rising energy prices. Our suppliers are impacted by rising energy prices. We’re doing all we can to offset it … but that’s the sort of number we’re talking about. Of course, 5%,” Tesco’s Allan said.

He said food and energy inflation would change consumer spending patterns, buying fewer luxury goods and big-ticket items and going out less to eat. Food inflation comes as households experience one of the most significant jumps in annual energy costs in years.

“It troubles us, and I’m sure troubles many people, that people may have to struggle to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families,” he said. “And that’s clearly not a situation that any of us should tolerate.”

For some context for our international readers, Tesco controls about 28% of the UK grocery market. So when Allan speaks about the worst of the food inflation has yet to come — it’s very concerning that food price hikes might continue well through spring. It’s still unknown the social ramifications of high inflation.

Food prices globally are at decade highs, likely to hit new records by spring.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Has Been Asserted Without Evidence May Be Dismissed Without Evidence

What Has Been Asserted Without Evidence May Be Dismissed Without Evidence

Listen to a reading of this article:

We’re being bashed in the face with western propaganda about the Ukraine situation with increasing forcefulness. Every day now we’re seeing things like “analysts” claiming Putin definitely wants a large-scale war, very familiar-looking puff pieces about Ukrainian guerrilla freedom fighters based on claims by anonymous intelligence sources, think pieces on why Americans should all care about Ukrainian freedom from Kremlin tyranny, and, of course, a lot of entirely unsubstantiated assertions about what Russia is doing.

Despite the British government’s evidence-free claim that Russia was planning to install a puppet regime in Ukraine being debunked within hours and then shown to be a US intelligence claim dishonestly packaged as a British one days later, mass media outlets still to this day repeat the allegation like it’s a real thing. Despite the entirely unevidenced US government claim that Russia was plotting to stage a false flag attack in eastern Ukraine failing to prove true in subsequent weeks, US Senator Bob Menendez went on CNN over the weekend and declared that this false flag which never actually, physically happened was grounds to sanction Russia effective immediately.

The US political/media class is just saying whatever it wants about what Russia is doing and planning to do with no regard for facts or evidence. Nothing is too cartoonishly hysterical; in fact the more clickbaity and attention-grabbing the better. They feel free to scattergun these outlandish claims willy nilly all over our information ecosystem because five years of Russia hysteria have taught them that they will suffer exactly zero professional consequences when they are proven wrong, and that they will in fact see their stars rise as a reward for advancing the interests of the US empire.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The U.K. is two months away from a brutal cost-of-living crisis

The U.K. is two months away from a brutal cost-of-living crisis

Soaring inflation is causing headaches around the world, but in Britain the squeeze is coming from all sides

Soaring energy prices and rising inflation are causing policy headaches around the world. In the U.K., though, the government is raising taxes at the same time, kicking off an economic experiment in one of the countries worst-hit by the pandemic.

Britain’s acute cost-of-living crunch will hit in April, instantly stretching household and company budgets and penalizing the poorest households, many of which have already been most impacted by COVID-19.

The squeeze is coming from all sides. U.K. consumer price-growth hit a 30-year high of 5.4 per cent in December, and is wiping out wage gains. The Bank of England is jacking up interest rates faster than the Federal Reserve. A cap on domestic energy costs is expected to rise by 50 per cent in April, just as taxes increase in a bid to repair the U.K. public finances. Brexit hasn’t come cheap, either.

The Resolution Foundation think tank says the outcome will be a “living standards catastrophe,” and the Centre for Economics and Business Research reckons annual living costs for a typical U.K. household will rise by 1,980 pounds (US$2,700) — even before taxes go up.

While lawmakers in Westminster debate whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson should resign over whether he broke lockdown rules, the cost of living is fast becoming the country’s key political battleground, and a real danger for him — or for his successor.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UK energy crisis is a fossil fuel crisis – and gas is the villain

UK energy crisis is a fossil fuel crisis – and gas is the villain

New analysis by energy think tank Ember reveals that the skyrocketing price of fossil gas was responsible for 85% of the increase in UK wholesale electricity prices in 2021. In just one year, wholesale electricity prices quadrupled and it became almost five times more expensive to generate electricity from gas plants.

“Gas is the villain. Not the green investments that can end the UK’s dependence on this costly and polluting fossil fuel,” said Ember COO Phil MacDonald.

Monthly average UK wholesale electricity prices jumped by almost £190/MWh in 2021 – from £55/MWh (December 2020) to £245/MWh (December 2021). The cost of fossil gas was responsible for £162/MWh (85%) of this spike.

The UK remains heavily reliant on fossil gas for its electricity. In 2021, the UK generated 40% of its electricity from fossil gas plants. From December 2020 to December 2021, the cost of generating electricity from a combined cycle gas power plant (CCGT) surged from £48/MWh to £227/MWh (+£179/MWh).[1] The carbon price only accounted for £17/MWh (10%) of the increased cost of generating electricity from CCGTs.

Skyrocketing wholesale electricity prices will soon hit consumers directly. The cap on UK energy bills is set for an unprecedented increase in April 2022, likely pushing millions more into energy poverty. Despite claims by a small group of Conservative MPs in the ‘Net Zero Scrutiny Group’, the energy crisis has almost nothing to do with green subsidies. The principal reason is the skyrocketing price of fossil gas. Previously Ember forecasted that the gas price spike will add £29 billion to UK electricity bills in 2022.

“The UK energy crisis is a fossil fuel crisis. The more wind turbines and solar panels the UK can build, the less the country will be hostage to the volatile global gas price,” said MacDonald.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UK Threatens Russia With ‘High Impact’ Sanctions Over Ukraine

UK Threatens Russia With ‘High Impact’ Sanctions Over Ukraine

NATO foreign ministers are meeting Friday to discuss Ukraine

On Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned Russia that the UK is working on “high impact” sanctions Western powers could implement over allegations that Moscow is plotting to invade Ukraine.

“The UK is working with our partners on these sanctions, including high impact measures targeting the Russian financial sector and individuals,” Truss said.

For their part, the Russians have strongly denied the claim that they are planning to invade Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin is concerned with the increased US and NATO presence in the region and is seeking security guarantees that NATO won’t expand further eastward.

Truss insists that Russia is the “aggressor” and that NATO has always been a “defensive alliance,” although since the Soviet Union collapsed, NATO has waged wars of aggression in the Balkans and across the Middle East and North Africa.

Truss’ language on sanctions echoes what is coming out of Washington. The US has warned Moscow of “severe” sanctions that would aim to isolate Russia from the global financial system. In a call with President Biden last week, Putin said such sanctions could lead to the end of US-Russia relations.

On Friday, Truss and other NATO foreign ministers will hold virtual talks on Ukraine ahead of planned meetings with Russia. On January 10th, US and Russian officials will meet in Geneva to discuss Moscow’s concerns. On January 12th, NATO will hold a meeting with Russian officials in Brussels.

The UK energy rationing plan

The UK energy rationing plan

The establishment media are suspiciously silent about the energy crunch facing Europe in general and the UK in particular.  In October, when the wholesale gas price spiked at 400 percent above its January 2021 level, energy prices were headline news.  So too was the sight of energy supply companies falling like dominoes.  But then, perhaps because energy supply problems couldn’t be blamed on Brexit, the news moved on to MPs sleaze and the Prime Minister’s Christmas parties.  Most Brits today are entirely unaware that our energy situation has become far more precarious.

It falls to the business pages of the American press to spell out what UK outlets refuse to consider.  For example, Anna Shiryaevskaya, Jesper Starn, and Elena Mazneva at Bloomberg explain that:

“Temperatures are forecast to fall below zero degrees Celsius in several European capitals this week, straining electricity grids already coping with low wind speeds and severe nuclear outages in France. To make matters worse, Russia is limiting natural gas flows through a major transit route to Germany…

“Energy prices have spiraled this year, with European gas surging more than 600%. The region’s benchmark gas contract climbed as much as 8.8% Monday and closed record-high, while German year-ahead power, a benchmark in Europe, rose as much as 5.7% to a record 256.25 euros ($289) a megawatt-hour. The French contract jumped 9% to an all-time high.”

The energy crunch has been exacerbated by the political games being played out by the new German government and Russia – the former refusing to finalise the Nord Stream 2 pipeline deal, and the latter choosing to store gas reserves for its own population rather than pump it over to Western Europe.  One consequence for the UK – which is now at the end of the pipelines from Russia – is that the price of gas spiked above £3.70 per therm this afternoon (20.12.2021):

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Entice and Orbit become latest energy firms to go bust

Entice and Orbit become latest energy firms to go bust

Smart meterIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES

Two more energy suppliers have gone bust amid the surge in gas prices, the regulator Ofgem has said.

Entice Energy and Orbit Energy, which have about 5,400 and 65,000 customers respectively, ceased trading on Wednesday.

The two firms are the latest companies to go under as higher wholesale gas prices have made price promises by suppliers to customers undeliverable.

Ofgem said new suppliers would be found for the two companies’ customers.

Households have been advised to wait until a new supplier is appointed before thinking about switching company.

Neil Lawrence, director of retail at Ofgem, said:  ”I want to reassure affected customers that they do not need to worry:  under our safety net we’ll make sure your energy supplies continue. ”

Orbit said energy supplies to its customers were “secure” and said any credit balances would be honoured.

The collapse of Orbit and Entice comes after Bulb, the UK’s seventh largest energy supplier, was handed about £1,000 per customer from the UK government to enable it to continue supplying energy.

Bulb, which has 1.7 million customers, is the largest company to date to face difficulties in recent months and was put into special administration, which will allow it keep trading for the moment with a £1.7bn loan.

It will be run by an administrator until a buyer can be found or until its customers have moved.

Bulb’s size is the reason it has been kept afloat by the government, rather than its customers being transferred to other suppliers, as has happened with other failing energy providers.

Energy firms graphic

Since the beginning of September, a total of 24 energy suppliers have now failed following a spike in gas prices.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UK | Supply Chains No Longer Fit For Purpose

UK | Supply Chains No Longer Fit For Purpose

In October 2021 Sustain, the UK-based alliance working for food and farming system change, published ‘Beyond the farmgate – Unlocking the path to farmer-focused supply chains and climate-friendly, agroecological food systems’. The report explores the results of a survey of 500 farmers in England and Wales, with recommendations on how better systems can be created to benefit farmers, the environment and the public. Vicki Hird unpacks some of the details. 

Farmers in England and Wales want to move away from centralised supply chains where they say they have little influence over prices, not enough connection to consumers, and are not rewarded for delivering positive climate and nature outcomes. This is according to the findings of Sustain in its report ‘Beyond the Farmgate‘ which lays out the results of a new survey of 500 English and Welsh farmers.  Only 5% of farmers surveyed want to sell to supermarkets. In contrast, 80% would like to sell to food hubs, box schemes, independent retailers and other more local markets.

Local Supply Chains – barriers and cooperation

More localised supply chains would do a much better job when it comes to fair and better prices (75%), supporting climate and nature objectives (30%), and greater business resilience (42%), farmers felt.

But finding new markets has its barriers, which were also drawn out of the survey. The biggest challenges for farmers were access to affordable finance (48%), limited time and know-how when it comes to marketing and market research (44%), and the lack of locally available infrastructure like grain mills and abattoirs (28%).

Given the multiple challenges ahead, from trade deals, to climate and a continuously harsh retail environment, it was unsurprising that most farmers surveyed either want to be part of a cooperative (55%) or would be willing to consider joining one (25%)…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Zog Energy becomes 25th UK supplier to go bust in three months

Company, which supplied gas to about 11,700 households, is another victim of record market prices

A pan on a domestic hob
Zog Energy was founded in 2012 with a plan to offer households simple, affordable gas tariffs. Photograph: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images

Another of the UK’s small energy companies has gone bust, bringing the total number of suppliers that have collapsed in the past three months after a record surge in energy market prices to 25.

Zog Energy, which supplies gas to about 11,700 households, announced on its website that it had ceased to trade and that the energy regulator, Ofgem, would appoint a new supplier to take on its customers.

Ofgem has been forced to find new suppliers for more than 2 million households affected by the collapse of energy suppliers since the start of September. The fate of another 1.7 million Bulb Energy customers is yet to be decided by a special administrator, which was appointed to handle the large-scale collapse.

Note: this table does not include MA Energy (2 November) or CNG Energy (3 November), which supply only non-domestic energy customers

Zog Energy was founded in 2012 with a plan to offer households simple, affordable gas tariffs. It said it was “starting with gas” because this was “normally the highest proportion of domestic customers’ annual fuel bill” but did not go on to offer electricity tariffs.

Bills have rocketed in recent weeks after a global gas supply crunch that has caused the wholesale market price to reach record highs in October, and remain at historic levels as temperatures have plunged.

Neil Lawrence, Ofgem’s retail director, said Zog’s customers “do not need to worry” because the regulator’s safety net process would ensure they have uninterrupted energy until a new supplier is appointed, and their bills would be protected by the energy price cap.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UK will ‘pause’ publication of data showing biodiversity in decline

UK will ‘pause’ publication of data showing biodiversity in decline

Next year will see an important meeting to agree global biodiversity targets, but the UK says it won’t be publishing key data on wildlife and habitats

Lulworth skipper butterfly

A male Lulworth skipper (Thymelicus acteon) in Dorset, UK. Oliver Smart/Alamy

Conservationists and politicians have criticised the UK government for its decision to temporarily stop publishing new data on the state of the country’s wildlife and habitats in 2022, the same year as a landmark UN biodiversity summit.

Figures published today by the Department for Food, Rural Affairs & Environment (Defra) show a deteriorating picture for habitats, as well as for priority species, such as otters and red squirrels; woodland birds and butterflies that are reliant on specific habitats, such as the Lulworth skipper (Thymelicus acteon).

The UK, like many other countries, has failed to arrest declines in biodiversity in recent years despite signing up to global targets to protect nature. In April 2022, nations are expected to renew their commitment to act by agreeing new biodiversity targets for 2030 at the COP15 summit in Kunming, China.

However, Defra said that it will “pause” publishing new data on the state of UK biodiversity in 2022 to enable a “thorough review” of the indicators, such as the pressures from invasive species or the health of bird populations and other animals. Publication will not resume until 2023.

Mark Avery, a conservationist and former conservation director of the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, says: “It seems like Defra’s response to a biodiversity crisis is to stop publishing the data that show it’s happening. That’s not very good, is it?”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UK Bans Gas Heating

UK Bans Gas Heating

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