‘What a waste!’: Fuel protests spark fierce debate from angry drivers – ‘being ripped off’

Protester Richard Dite leads the 30mph protest on the M4

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A total of 13 drivers were arrested for driving too slowly yesterday as they took part in “slow-down” or “go-slow” protests along key routes. The protestors used “rolling roadblocks” to bring parts of the M4, M5, M54 and A64 to a standstill at the border between England and Wales in response to record petrol and diesel prices.

Motorists taking part occupied all three lanes and dropped their speed to back up traffic behind them.

Demonstrators were told by officers that they needed to travel at 30mph or higher to carry out the action legally.

Dozens of police vans and police officers blocked the eastbound and westbound carriageway, just past the Prince of Wales Bridge into Wales, to make the arrests.

It is understood that the demonstrations in England and Wales were organised on social media under the banner “Fuel Price Stand Against Tax”.

Yesterday, petrol hit a new all-time high of 191.53p a litre while diesel hung on to record levels at 199.03p a litre, having set a new one of 199.07p on Friday.

Many were critical of the actions, including Express.co.uk readers, who slammed the protests, despite the record prices.

One commenter, using the nickname HolyMoses, said: “I fully support the protest. We are all being taken for an expensive ride by the thieves at the head of a corporate business.

“Take supermarkets as an example. Yesterday in my area all supermarkets sold at the same price as Shell. Normally they are cheaper by 2 to 4p a litre.

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“We are all being ripped off massively and both Gov and opposition don’t give a damn.

“They are all giving us the green finger.”

Another reader, Jedi Jones, claimed: “Johnson’s net-zero plan is to price diesel and petrol cars off the roads. We can’t get to net-zero and carry on burning fuel.

“We’re going green and it ain’t going to be pretty. Driving cars and having a warm home are things of the past.”

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A third reader attacked the protests, saying: “What a waste of fuel and money!”

Luke Bosdet, the AA’s fuel price spokesman said it was an “outrage, plain and simple” that cuts haven’t already been made for fuel prices.

“The retailers came up with an excuse that demand had fallen to 80 percent for some.

“Yet, last week, official statistics showed that petrol consumption is still at 94 percent of normal.

“That is incredible given the enormous pump-price pressure on drivers and underlines once again that road fuel is an essential expenditure for private car users and their families across the UK.”

Petrol wholesale costs started falling after the Jubilee weekend and have been down at least 5p a litre for more than a fortnight, having ended last week 10p down on the record highs of early June.

Likewise, diesel costs heading to the pump have been lower over the past fortnight albeit to a lesser extent.

Average petrol and diesel prices are around 60p more expensive now than they were this time last year.

Other countries have seen protests in recent days and weeks with farmers in the Netherlands parking outside the Dutch Parliament to voice opposition to green reforms.

Hauliers in Spain have threatened to call more strikes in July as fuel prices soar to a new high, with the strikes seeing losses of almost €1billion (£861million) in Andalucia alone, according to the Diario Sur newspaper.

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