JUNIOR Coalition minister Chloe Smith might have been thrown to the TV wolves to defend the government's decision to postpone the 3p rise in fuel duty last week, but something far more important has been happening to energy prices while getting a lot less coverage.
The price of oil has nose-dived over the past couple of months, making much more difference to prices at garage forecourts than this latest government intervention.
The slide began after April 3, which was the last day that the price of Brent crude, the oil of the North Sea, was above $125 per barrel. It took a few weeks to become clear that this was a big shift away from the long spike that had been going on since the Arab Spring started with the Egyptian uprising last January. Prices averaged $111 in 2011, a huge jump above the $80 average of 2010. Clearly any fears about the state of the world economy – which should drag prices down – were being outweighed by the supply collapse in the Middle East, particularly in Libya.
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