These days, it feels like every trip to the petrol station is one big guessing game.
Lucky AA customers using their AA app or Fuel Card are saving 3c a litre at selected Circle K stations nationwide, but for folks across the country, is filling the car getting out of hand? Or are we overanalysing how much we’re spending to fill the car?
If you’ve been obsessing at the numbers every time you drive by a petrol station, you’ll love this quick look at whether fuel is getting expensive.
A long, long time ago…
Try and cast your mind back to the halcyon days of summer 2019. Dance Monkey was never off the radio. Avengers: Endgame was top of the box office, and Dublin lifted the Sam Maguire for the fifth time in a row. You probably didn’t even notice that a litre of unleaded was about 140c per litre (p/l) at the pumps.
That was just shy of three years ago. While so much has changed ever since, all of us are still hit with a little shock anytime we watch the counter go up faster at the petrol pump.
When did the price of fuel go up so sharply?
Because we love looking at data and helping AA customers save money, we have kept track of fuel prices as far back as October 1991, when a litre of regular unleaded was…wait for it…75.8c p/l. Fast forward to August 2022, and that’s a 146.6% increase (186.9c p/l).
Obviously, prices are expected to go up over time, but the real sharp increase we’re seeing at the pumps isn’t fiction. While 2015 saw prices hit the 150c mark quite sharply, the recent jolt we all had to seeing 200c on the forecourt signs really started happening around Oct 2021.
A small part of that was down to budget changes, where 2c was added to unleaded & 2.5c was added to diesel, but since then, the monthly increase has been much sharper than we’re used to seeing. For example, the price of petrol actually went down over 2020, from 144.5c p/l to 127.3p/l.
Fuel is getting too expensive though, right?
There is no denying that unleaded and diesel are higher than ever, but it helps to take a step back and think about what that increase looks like across a year.
From January to August 2022, diesel rose from 166.1c to 189.8c p/l, a 23c increase.
From January to August 2021, it increased 24c. There have been ebbs and flows every year; it’s just that this time we’re all taking more notice of it as the cost of living increases.
So, are we just going to have to accept a new norm?
Without getting pessimistic, it depends. As we mentioned in a recent blog post, most journeys under 2km are made by car, and we have the luxury here too, that we don’t have to spend as long on typical journeys.
With more people shifting towards EV options to cover those shorter journeys (married with the increase of chargers popping up around the country), those who can lean away from the dependency on petrol/diesel will have more options.
We might not see prices drop down to the levels they were just two years ago when a litre of unleaded was 132.9c in January 2020, but as we’re writing this in October 2022, a nearby Circle K has unleaded at 165.9c p/l. 10 years ago, the average was 167.9c p/l, so widening the scope often paints a different picture.