High petrol prices forcing Cheltenham taxi drivers to consider quitting
TAXI drivers in Cheltenham are being forced to consider giving up their jobs because of rocketing petrol prices.
Unleaded petrol has risen by 5p over the past month and is now at 138.32p per litre, while diesel has jumped up by 4.78p over the same period to now stand at 145.10p.
Keith Shepherd, a driver for Bishop's Cleeve Private Hire, said the cost of fuel was making cabbies contemplate finding a different career.
The 37-year-old said: "I know that the high petrol price is something that's a regular topic of conversation.
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"It makes drivers think about other careers because the money does not seem to be in this work anymore."
Most taxi drivers have to cover their own fuel and car maintenance costs.
Keith, who has been a taxi driver for 10 years, added: "My car uses diesel and it's costing more and more to fill up, which is eating into our profits.
"We can't put our prices up because we will find that customers will not want to use us."
Experts said the weak pound was the source of the rise, with sterling recently hitting a two-and-a-half year low against the dollar, and that prices were expected to continue to increase. This was because crude oil and refined products were traded in dollars and, therefore, became more expensive for British companies when the pound fell.
Another other factor was the rising price of oil on the international market, which influenced the petrol price.
They said there was no obvious reason for this increase, as supply was not tight at the moment.
Chancellor George Osborne plans to increase fuel duty in September, but the Automobile Association (AA) is calling on him to scrap the idea because rising prices are forcing drivers off the road.
Keith said: "It's an easy tax for the Government to add on and I don't agree that it should go up. Motorists always seem to be an easy target to get money out of."
The chancellor scrapped plans for a 3p per litre fuel duty increase in January following widespread criticism from motorists.
Around 60 per cent of the price motorists pay at the pump currently goes to the Treasury.
The Government has not increased fuel duty for two years, and actually cut the tax by 1p in March 2011.