The cost of driving lessons across Wales is getting more and more expensive due to the massive increase in the cost of fuel. Driving instructors have to make the difficult decision to ask their learners to pay more for their lessons due to gasoline and diesel prices, which have reached record highs as Russia invades Ukraine. continues to affect oil prices globally.
According to the RAC, drivers currently have to pay an average of 165.89 pence per liter of unleaded petrol, 176.76 pence per liter of diesel and 177.68 pence per liter of premium unleaded, with warnings that they’re all “probably getting up”. Haydn Balch, who runs Haydn Balch Driving School in the Swansea and Llanelli areas, explained how ‘everything goes through the roof’.
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“It’s a real fight right now,” he said. “I am earning an average of £130 a week at the moment for fuel, and that doesn’t take into account other expenses like insurance, wear and tear, so prices have also skyrocketed at the moment for lessons.
“It’s having a huge effect on everyone at the moment. It’s a big impact over the month. I’ve increased the price of my lessons from £28 to £35 right now. Everyone is feeling the pinch right now, and moms and dads are having a hard time finding money for their kids’ tuition. What I’ve noticed over the past week, week and a half is that people don’t call more to ask for lessons, they call to ask, what are your prices, rather that you are available.
“I think we’re all struggling to be honest. We’ve just come out of lockdown and we haven’t had an income for two years as such, and we were hoping that when we maybe get back to the normality, we may start to get some of the money back, but we find ourselves in a bigger hole again, due to the increase in fuel prices, that means we have not been able to refund the debts we incurred during lockdown There have been a lot of meetings with other driving instructors in Swansea about prices and where are we going with prices.
“I don’t do advertising at the moment. I used to pay £200 a month for advertising but gave up on that because I can’t afford it. I currently have to rely on social media for my advertising It’s shaving off little things, trying to simplify everything I can do, but it’s hard to run a road on the car as a business right now.
“With prices as they are now, if the government were to waive some of their fuel tax levies like they did during the pandemic, maybe that could help because we are one of the most taxed on fuel. It would help small businesses like myself overcome that right now.”
Kevin King, from the Kevin King School of Motoring in Pontypridd, accepted. He said: “It’s been a big problem, for everyone I guess, but it’s difficult. I haven’t raised my prices yet, but I will have to, because it’s just not manageable. with rising costs.
“The biggest problems right now here are the queues for petrol. I haven’t heard there will be a shortage, but someone somewhere must think so because you have to do the line up for gas. My intention is early next week to budget everything, go over and see how it impacts. I’m waiting to see when it stops, because what I don’t want to do, it’s raising my prices, then a few weeks later having to raise them again.
“I’m going to give it a few weeks, see what happens and how much it goes up, but I’m already warning my students that it’s going to have to go up.”
Mr King explained how he was ‘doing so’ at the moment, but that it was impacting his purchasing power. He added: “My plan is probably April 1, I will raise my prices, but I don’t know how much yet. It will probably be £3 or £4 an hour.
“It’s hard, because driving lessons aren’t cheap, we all know that, but again, there aren’t a lot of rich driving instructors. Because we’re self-employed, everything has to come out of that money before we can have a It’s not like we’re making a fortune, we’re running against the grain in a lot of cases When you look at the cost of fuel, three quarters is taxes It seems to me that fuel is unfairly taxed at the moment.”
The owner of the Whiz automatic driving school in Cardiff, Dee Pani, said he had yet to notice a significant difference. “For me, it didn’t have much of an impact,” he said. “I’m ready to put up with it, with the situation Ukraine is in, it’s not a problem at all. I’m ready to pay more if they stop buying fuel from them (Russia).
“I haven’t had to increase the price of my lessons yet, but if it goes up much more, I’ll consider it. I haven’t noticed a big increase in the amount I spend so far. I fill it up twice a week, every three, four days, and it’s only gone up four or five pounds. They could do a VAT cut on fuel, that might help. I think that’s the only way forward.
A year ago, the average price of gasoline stood at 122.50 pa liter, while diesel was at 125.99 p. Now that petrol has reached the 160p threshold, on average the cost of filling a typical family car with a 55-litre tank will be £88.
The RAC said that since February 13, near-daily records have been set for fuel prices as the threat of war in Ukraine looms. These have contributed to a spike in the cost of living in the UK and helped push inflation to its highest level in 30 years. You can keep up to date with the main issues affecting Wales with our daily Wales Matters newsletters.
The owner of Top Tuition driving school in Bridgend, Randal Phillips, said he felt driving instructors should ‘assume the losses’ for the time being due to the difficult financial situation, which is also impacting the learners. He added: “The scenario you have is that you raise the price of lessons to cover the excess cost of fuel, but the people you are teaching to drive have also had their income cut off, so I would personally take the loss, and just be grateful. It’s a tough time for everyone.”