The average price of petrol and diesel both fell slightly at the pumps in the last month, according to the latest survey of prices from AA Ireland.
Petrol now costs an average of 162.0 cent per litre, down 0.1 cent since March. Diesel fell more sharply, down 2.7 cent to an average of 153.8.
“We’re still on a rollercoaster with fuel prices but at least at the moment they are trending downwards.” Says Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan. “We have seen fresh falls in prices at the pumps over the last few days and we would be optimistic of a further slight fall.”
“I would not get too excited though. We are only expecting prices to fall by maybe 2 cents. Better than a move the other way but prices are still hovering around at a very high level.”
Oil and other commodities have fallen sharply on world markets in the last week or so and the Euro has also strengthened somewhat against the US dollar. These are good omens but at the same time European wholesale prices have been fairly steady.
“We can’t know at this stage how the coming weeks will play out in terms of global prices.” Says Faughnan. “For now, all we can say is that we are expecting a slight fall at the pumps over the next week to ten days. The indications are broadly positive for the few weeks after that but there is no way to be certain that falls will be sustained.”
The AA again points out that while oil prices tend to grab people’s attention they are not as big a factor as local taxes in the price that Irish drivers pay. Through a combination of excise duties including the cynically named ‘carbon tax’ and VAT, over 57% of the price of both diesel and petrol is tax.
A typical Irish car doing typical Irish mileage* will use 1,800 litres of fuel annually or 150 litres per month. At current prices, that means drivers will pay €243 this month for petrol of which €138.50 is tax.
“For a road-dependent island economy with relatively poor public transport this is altogether too much.” Says Faughnan. “It burdens ordinary people and it burdens business in an ongoing anti-stimulus effect.”
*If a car does 12,000 miles per year (19,200 kms) at a fuel consumption rate of 30 miles per gallon (9.42 litres per 100 kms) that car will use 150 litres of fuel per month.