Fuel prices: Ireland vs. Europe – How do we measure up?

A European fuel price review carried out by AA Ireland reveals that Norwegians continue to pay more for their fuel than motorists in the rest of Europe.  Despite being a major energy provider, motorists in Norway which has one of highest tax levels in world, are currently paying an average of €1.83 per litre of petrol (+0.23c yoy) and €1.70 per litre of diesel (+18c yoy), prices which are 22% and 19% higher respectively than those currently charged at Irish pumps.

“While we’re about mid table in respect to fuel prices, there’s no escaping the fact that Irish motorists are paying a weighty matrix of taxes and charges which include, VRT, Motor Tax, road usage tolls and a 3% levy on our motor insurance premiums which is set to rise further.” Says Conor Faughnan, Director of Policy, AA Ireland.  “Taken collectively, Irish Motorists are among the most heavily taxed in Europe.”

After Norway, the AA Ireland fuel price review which examines a sample of 27 European countries reveals that drivers in the Netherlands and Denmark are currently enduring the highest prices for petrol at €1.70 and €1.66 per litre respectively according to latest figures.  In both these countries all highways are free of tolls with the exception of the bridges between Sweden and Denmark and Sealand and Funen again in Denmark.   It’s Sweden (€1.61 per litre), Great Britain (€1.59 per litre) and Northern Ireland (€1.59 per litre) however who rank second, third and forth in relation to the cost of diesel.

The review reveals that the residents of just five countries – Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Switzerland and Sweden are currently paying a higher price for their diesel than their petrol on account of their respective fiscal policies.

The highest year on year price increases for petrol across Europe were recorded in The Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and Norway.  Motorists in the Netherlands are currently paying €0.27 more than this time last year, Italians an additional €0.24 while those in Portugal, Belgium and Norway are all paying an extra €0.23 on average.  None of the 27 countries included in the review have experienced a year on year decrease in their fuel prices however some countries such as Poland which saw a €0.04 increase in the price of a litre of petrol and a €0.08 increase in the price of a litre of diesel did fare better than most.

Poland, currently has the lowest price point within Europe for petrol according to the AA’s Report.  Drivers in Poland are currently paying an average of €1.20 per litre of regular unleaded, 20% less than at Irish pumps.  Prices are also comparatively low on average in Estonia (€1.26) and Luxembourg (€1.27) who join Poland at the bottom of the European fuel price table.

Based on a calculation of motorist doing 12,000 miles per year at a fuel economy of 30 miles per gallon, typical for a mix of urban and rural driving, the AA calculates that a driver in Norway would in fact spend €1,134* more on petrol per annum than someone doing the same mileage in Poland and €594** more than someone in Ireland based on current day prices.

AA Calculation – An average motorist’s annual expenditure on petrol:

Driver in Norway 1,800 litres x €1.83 = €3,294 (Based on prices obtained 17/10/11)
Driver in Ireland 1,800 litres x €1.50 = €2,700 (Based on prices obtained 17/10/11)
Driver in Poland 1,800 litres x €1.20 = €2,160 (Based on prices obtained 17/10/11)

€3,294 (Norway) – €2,160 (Poland) = €1,134*

€3,294 (Norway) – €2,700 (Ireland) = €594**

Equally, based on the same basic calculation, the AA estimates that a driver in Norway would spend €936*** more per annum on diesel than a driver doing the same mileage in Luxembourg, which has a lower price point for diesel than any of the other 26 European countries featured in the review.  Norwegians are also paying an average of €594**** more per annum for their petrol than Irish drivers.

AA Calculation – An average motorist’s annual expenditure on diesel:

Driver in Norway 1,800 litres x €1.70 = €3,060 (Based on prices issued 21/07/11)
Driver in Ireland 1,800 litres x €1.43 = €2,574 (Based on prices obtained 18/07/11)
Driver in Luxembourg 1,800 litres x €1.18 = €2,124 (Based on prices obtained 15/07/11)

€3,060 (Norway) – €2,124 (Luxembourg) = €936***

€3,060 (Norway) – €2,574 (Ireland) = €486****

Overall the AA calculates that the price of petrol has increased by 11.3% year on year across the 27 European nations included in their report.  Equally it calculates that diesel has risen by 13% on average during the same time period.

Notes to the editor;

Fig. 1 European fuel price comparison table incl. year on year price comparisons (October prices received 17/10/11 and based on mid month figures)

Country Currency Unleaded (Oct 11) Diesel (Oct 11) Unleaded (Sept 11) Diesel (Sept 11) Unleaded (Oct 10) Diesel (Oct 10) Year on year increase – Petrol Year on year increase – Diesel
Norway Norwegian Krone 1.83 1.70 1.84 1.73 1.60 1.52 0.23 0.18
Netherlands Euro 1.70 1.42 1.75 1.42 1.43 1.23 0.27 0.19
Denmark Danish Krone 1.66 1.53 1.70 1.53 1.50 1.34 0.16 0.19
Greece Euro 1.59 1.39 1.59 1.39 1.50 1.31 0.09 0.08
Italy Euro 1.59 1.48 1.56 1.46 1.35 1.30 0.24 0.18
Portugal Euro 1.59 1.37 1.57 1.41 1.36 1.15 0.23 0.22
Belgium Euro 1.59 1.50 1.55 1.38 1.36 1.17 0.23 0.33
Sweden Swedish Krona 1.57 1.61 1.63 1.62 1.42 1.35 0.15 0.26
Finland Euro 1.56 1.36 1.62 1.37 1.41 1.14 0.15 0.22
Germany Euro 1.55 1.46 1.61 1.47 1.39 1.21 0.16 0.25
Northern Ireland Pound Sterling 1.54 1.59 1.53 1.61 1.37 1.42 0.17 0.17
GB Sterling 1.54 1.59 1.53 1.60 1.37 1.41 0.17 0.18
France Euro 1.53 1.44 1.65 1.48 1.38 1.32 0.15 0.12
Ireland Euro 1.50 1.43 1.51 1.42 1.31 1.25 0.19 0.18
Slovakia Euro 1.47 1.35 1.44 1.35 1.25 1.13 0.22 0.22
Switzerland Swiss Franc 1.44 1.53 1.40 1.50 1.24 1.33 0.20 0.20
Czech Republic Czech Koruna 1.44 1.41 1.47 1.47 1.30 1.27 0.14 0.14
Malta Euro 1.41 1.31 1.38 1.31 1.19 1.08 0.22 0.23
Austria Euro 1.37 1.35 1.39 1.36 1.19 1.12 0.18 0.23
Lithuania Litas 1.36 1.27 1.38 1.29 1.22 1.08 0.14 0.19
Spain Euro 1.33 1.28 1.36 1.31 1.15 1.08 0.18 0.20
Hungary Forint 1.32 1.31 1.46 1.42 1.26 1.19 0.06 0.12
Slovenia Euro 1.32 1.27 1.29 1.25 1.23 1.18 0.09 0.09
Latvia Lats 1.31 1.31 1..30 1.28 1.10 1.10 0.21 0.21
Luxembourg Euro 1.27 1.18 1.34 1.19 1.16 1.01 0.11 0.17
Estonia Euro 1.26 1.27 1.25 1.31 1.14 1.15 0.12 0.12
Poland Zloty 1.20 1.19 1.31 1.28 1.16 1.11 0.04 0.08

Prices sourced from the European Road Information Centre (Geneva), and based on figures as at 17 Oct 2011.   They are an average of mid-month prices from the respective regions.