The huge dependency on road freight for just-in-time delivery from centralised warehouses makes retail goods, particularly food, very vulnerable to fuel-related price rises and supply shortages. Therefore, a hike in oil prices will quickly find its way through to the shelves and into people’s weekly shopping bills. A shortage of oil will likewise be quickly felt as a shortage of goods in the shops. These problems apply all the more when goods are brought in from abroad.
Farming is highly dependent on the use of oil-related products such as diesel fuel, soil improvers and crop treatments. Government will need to consider mechanisms for preventing unreasonable oil-driven price rises feeding through into the basic food supply chain.