Fuel protests halt Spanish car production

Published: 16 June 2008

Fuel protests in Europe triggered by the soaring cost of fuel have drastically reduced car production in Spain this month. 

Last week's truck blockades and fuel depot pickets in Madrid caused car plants around the country to cut production. Seat, Citroen Peugeot, Ford, Nissan, Renault and Mercedes-Benz all have factories in Spain and most said they were affected.

Seat production slashed by 40 percent

Seat said its main Martorell plant was operating at 40 percent capacity, with production of the Leon and Altea models severely affected. However, the protests won’t delay sales of the new Ibiza, a spokesman promised, and assembly of cars in the factory is expected to return to normal this week. The company says it hopes ‘not to pass on the delays to customers’.

Protests have already hit Portugal, France, Bulgaria and the UK, as oil reached $139 a barrel last week. A year ago, the average price for a barrel was under $55.

The average UK fuel price for a litre of unleaded petrol now stands at 117.2p and 130.5 for diesel, which in the past month has risen by its highest margin this century. In 2003, unleaded fuel in the UK was priced at 76p.

What's the solution to the oil price crisis? Or are we merely postponing the inevitable?
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