The AA monthly index of fuel prices shows there has been no relief from rising prices. The average price of petrol across the country rose by 1.9 cent to 144.5 cents per litre, pushing the all time record retail price even higher. Diesel was even worse, rising 3.3 cent this month to its new record high at 138.5 cent.
“What was a bad situation continues to get worse.” Says Director of Policy Conor Faughnan. “Fuel prices dropped to a modern low 2 years ago but since then they have risen steadily and continuously.”
“Irish tax increases have been added as well, and the most recent 4 cent per litre increase in last December’s budget pushed fuel to an all time record high. That record was broken in January and now again in February.”
The price of fuel is a major concern to Irish motorists. 98.1% of drivers rated rising fuel prices as either ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ in the AA’s most recent Motorists Panel survey*. That same survey showed that 46.8% of drivers will reduce the amount of kilometres they drive this year because of rising fuel prices.
“Two thirds of the retail price of fuel is tax, because of recent tax rises.” Says Faughnan. “From a revenue point of view this has backfired as people are driving less in response. The benefit of cross-border fuel purchases, where motorists from Northern Ireland buy their fuel in the south, is also reduced as the gap between Irish and UK tax on fuel narrows.”
The incoming government can address this immediately by removing the excise duty increases from the last budget. The AA will be making this call on the new administration when it takes office.
In the meantime, the AA continues to encourage its members to shop around. Even as we are at the mercy of tax and oil prices, the local price per litre still varies considerably. Motorists need to keep their eyes open to take advantage of this.
The AA is asking its Members and all motorists to share their concerns about prices and report any issues they come across via its website blog section, http://blog.aaireland.ie/
*AA Motorists Panel survey carried out by email, 21 to 28 January 2011, 23,000 responses
Note 1: The chart below shows the average price of petrol and diesel per month from January 2009 to February 2011 inclusive.
AA Ireland Fuel price figures
National Average Price Index each month since deregulation Oct 1991
Field work carried out in week 2 of each month. (All figures in Euros)
Note 2: The AA’s Fuel Saving Tips.
- Buy fuel in units of litres, not euros. This makes it obvious where you get the best value
- Shop around: don’t always use the same garage out of habit
- Drive smoothly and slowly; a harsh driving style burns more fuel
- At this time of year the heaters are in constant use. This is hard to avoid but try to take it easy: Air conditioners can add up to 10% to fuel usage.
- Don’t use the air conditioning all the time: once the air conditioning has heated the inside of the car, you may be able to turn it down or off.