SOMETHING strange is happening on garage forecourts, and, like most inquisitive senior citizens, confused by the weird and wonderful workings of the modern world, I am trying to fathom how it has crept up on us without the usual braying from the tabloid press and mass public protests. I am referring to parity at the pumps of petrol and diesel prices, now pretty much stabilised at around 99p.

I drive a Peugeot diesel van and not all that long ago was paying a hefty 15p per litre more than my wife, who has a petrol-driven Nissan Micra. Working on the theory that there are roughly four and a half litres to every gallon, people who use petrol-powered vehicles are paying around 67.5p per gallon more than they were a few months ago; that is £6.75 extra for ten gallons. I suppose, as a diesel-user, I should be keeping my head down, gob firmly shut and hoping against hope that the situation continues because if the difference is restored, and diesel soars to its previous level of 15-16p a litre more expensive than petrol, I will be walking, or using my bus pass, although, as I have stated previously, I doubt local transport companies make allowances for peripatetic drummers and their equipment.

Those of you with long memories, who think about these things, will remember when diesel was much cheaper than petrol, that is until the fuel companies realised motorists were opting for diesel-driven cars in preference to petrol and torpedoed that scenario by whacking up their prices at the pumps. There didn’t seem to be any feasible explanation, apart from greed, and the fact that motorists are a “soft” target, an opinion strengthened by the Budget Day impositions of every Chancellor since the beginning of time.

I recently read a report on the financial pages of my daily newspaper that oil had fallen below 60 dollars a barrel as doubts about the recovery of the global economy continued to affect the price of crude. That is well below what it was before the world went bust so should have signalled good news for motorists. However, if I am reading the situation correctly, as well as cynically, drivers of petrol-driven vehicles are sustaining company profits by having their 15p pump difference eroded while we diesel-users are smiling nervously, looking over our shoulders, waiting for the capitalist dragon to return and gobble us up.

I hope I live long enough to see black gold become as saleable, and profitable, as camel dung; when vehicles are driven by something other than the current stuff and we can all extend a two-fingered salute to the multi-billionaires who wallow in a bottomless lake of cash. Mind you, it’s too late to change the status quo, as the bulk of the world’s wealth is pretty much the property of oil tycoons in the Middle East, who indulge their fantasies by buying football clubs and offering “stars” a mind-bogling £280,000 A WEEK to come and play for them.

Such a revelation makes me wonder why the hell am I dribbling on about a 15p pump price evaporation. I’m old, and from a different planet, that’s why.