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What causes the price of petrol to change over time? Where does the money you pay for a litre of petrol really go and do you know what you are actually paying for? All your fuel related questions should be answered here.
The reason for their low percentage because there is little room for margins as the price of fuel is already so expensive before it reaches the retailer. The competitive nature of the petrol stations to have the lowest price is also an important factor in the money they make from the price of a litre.

Oil Prices
Changes in the oil industry have significant effects all around the world. Crude oil (which is refined to form petrol) is the world’s most
actively traded commodity and in 2005 the price of crude oil rose to prices which hadn’t been seen since the 1970’s oil crisis. In more recent years, an oversupply of oil has led to falling prices.
The IOCs are faced with the choice of managing a gentle decline by downsizing or risking a rapid collapse by trying to carry on business as usual.

An abandoned gas station in rural North Carolina, US. Carol M Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images.An abandoned gas station in rural North Carolina, US. Photo: Getty Images.
The future of the major international oil companies (IOCs) – BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and Total – is in doubt. The business model that sustained them during the 20th century is no longer fit for purpose. As a result, they are faced with the choice of managing a gentle decline by downsizing or risking a rapid collapse by trying to carry on business as usual.

Most commentary on the IOCs’ problems has focused on the recent fall in oil prices and the growing global commitment to tackle climate change. Important though these are, the source of their predicament is not confined to such recent developments over which they have no control. Their problems are more numerous, run deeper and go back further. The prognosis for the IOCs was already
grim before governments became serious about climate change and the oil price collapsed.

The most recent iteration of the IOCs’ business model emerged during the 1990s and was built upon three pillars: maximizing shareholder value based on a strategy that provided benchmarks for financial returns, maximizing bookable reserves and minimizing costs partly based on outsourcing. This model began to face serious challenges as the operating environment changed. It is the accumulation of these challenges, on top of those evident since the 1970s, and the failure of the IOCs to adapt to them that indicates that their old business model is gradually dying.

The IOCs have been able to survive over the last quarter of a century, but signs that their business model is faltering have recently begun to show. As well as poor financial performances, the symptoms include growing shareholder disillusion with a business model rooted in assumptions of ever-growing oil demand, oil scarcity and the need to increase bookable reserves, all of which increasingly lack validity.

There are, however, options that might allow the IOCs to improve their situation, namely:

Squeezing costs in the hope oil prices will revive
More mega-mergers
Playing vultures with remnants of the US shale gas revolution
Reshuffling their portfolios
Becoming a purely OECD operation
Rebuilding in-house technology
However, none alone is sufficient to solve the fundamental challenges, and even if implemented together they would amount only to fiddling around the edges while the model threatens the companies’ survival. In particular, the IOCs cannot assume that, as in the past, all they need to survive is to wait for crude prices to resume an upward direction. The oil market is going through fundamental structural changes driven by a technological revolution and geopolitical shifts. The old cycle of lower prices followed by higher prices is no longer applicable.

In this new world, the only realistic option for the IOCs lies in restructuring and realizing many of their current assets to provide cash for their shareholders. Inevitably, this means that they must shrink into the remaining areas of operation, functionally and geographically, where they can earn an acceptable return. This would require a major change in the corporate culture of the IOCs. It remains to be seen whether their senior management could handle such a fundamental shift. If they can, the IOCs will be able to slip into a gentle decline but ultimately survive on a much smaller scale.

Fuel Tax
Fuel tax is an imposed sales tax put on the sale of fuel. Frequently, fuel tax is looked upon as a source of general revenue, with some being put towards the maintenance of roads and highways.

Fuel Tax in the UK

Fuel tax in the UK is constantly changing and has risen steadily over the last 15 years. Between 1993 and 1999 there was a rapid increase with duties on fuel increasing by 3% above inflation. This was due to a major change in petrol taxation in 1993 when the Conservatives introduced the Fuel Price ‘escalator’. This was a way of the government making money and also to help protect the environment by discouraging people from using their cars.

Price of Petrol in the UK
Trends and Fluctuations

Fluctuations in fuel prices are a common occurrence. For the most part an upward change in the price of petrol, diesel and other fuels is caused by a variety of factors, such as:

Market forces (inflation, seasonal demands, taxes, cost of crude oil and refined fuel)
Global events (wars, gas shortages, security threats to oil supplies), and
New technology (alternative fuel sources, new types of vehicles)
Historical Fuel Price figures

Here is a snap shot of average prices for a litre of unleaded petrol in the United Kingdom from January 2007 to date, which will give you an idea of how quickly and dramatically fuel prices can change:

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