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I don't normally get too heavily involved in this stuff, but there's a massive movement on-line to boycott Esso and BP fuel stations in an attempt to bring prices at the pumps down, and I'm tired of getting my email box clogged up with them.

It's a well-meaning campaign, with a laudable goal, but sadly this won't do diddly: most people already buy on price - and with 5p as litre and more between service stations, that's plain silly at more than 20p a gallon (I remember holding out to save a couple of pence per gallon, riding around on fumes) - so those wonderful benevolent supermarkets are already getting a massive amount of trade at the expense of the big fuel companies, who could well supply it to them in the first place somewhere down the line. I don't know whether there is still an argument raging as to the quality of the fuel from supermarkets, or indeed whether there was ever any foundation to it in the first place.

It's the tax on fuel that needs to be sorted out, and until that happens we're destined to have high fuel prices regardless of what the oil companies do.

The government increases the taxation percentage under the auspices of encouraging a greener lifestyle: it presupposes that people use their vehicles by choice and will use them less if they can't afford the fuel, but with a piss-poor public transport system and out of town shopping, housing and employment (different directions out of town, obviously), they are promoting an infrastructure where workers need personal transport to be able to survive. Yes, some of us do use vehicles for pleasure: the remains of the UK tourism industry relies on that: and the increased cost of fuel will impact them, as well as any industry that needs to transport goods, the hauliers and ... well, basically everyone not living in a self-sufficient commune.

For the rest of us, the message is simple: high fuel tax costs jobs.

If you want to do something constructive, remember that we're in an election year. This needs to be an election issue as part of an overall clarification of the tax package. Move to get the government to set taxation on fuel at an absolute figure, not a percentage. That figure then needs to be transparent because currently it is hidden behind BS: 1p a litre more with this budget, 2p a litre last April based on the pump price, where it gets lost in a complicated tax structure.

If the chancellor - whoever the next one is - puts up duty, it should be on that base figure (and enshrined in law) and we can hold them to account for that.

What we then need to know is whether VAT is charged on that duty - apparently it currently is, so you pay 17.5% on top of the fuel companies' take plus the duty - and there are moves to suggest that is illegal. It's certainly immoral, and is not transparent. Give us the unspun information and let us decide if it's fair. Currently it doesn't seem like it is, which is why people are justifiably angry, and every delay in publishing the figures feeds that dissent.

Then we'll know what the fuel companies are making and can concentrate on making them accountable for their costs.

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