There is no relief in sight for motorists as the latest AA survey of fuel prices shows that petrol and diesel remain at all time highs.
A litre of petrol now costs an average of 170.1 cent nationwide. Diesel costs an average of 160.1 cent. This is the highest average ever recorded in the AA monthly index of fuel prices which has been in place ever since prices were deregulated in 1991.
“We have never had it this bad.” Says AA’s Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan. “Fuel is now ruinously expensive. We need the government to understand this because they are the ones that have caused it through super-taxes. We have had a tremendous amount of feedback from motorists who are suffering the consequences. I spoke recently to an AA Member with a young family who was now spending a third of his take-home pay on petrol to put in the car. This is unsustainable, for the individual and for the economy.”
Oil prices have risen over the last month. To some extent this has been offset by a slight rise in the value of the Euro against the US dollar but the net effect is still very high prices at the pumps.
“Oil and the Euro are both factors of course.” Says Faughnan. “But it is much more about Irish taxes. Right now when a driver spends €1.70 for a litre of petrol, 93 cent of that is tax. Because of the five separate tax increases that were added to fuel in the last four years the price of both fuels is 20 cent per litre higher than it should be at the pumps.”
The AA points out that this is not in fact leading to increased revenue for the state. Fuel sales are down roughly 4% so far this year and still falling. For the first three months of the year the government made approximately €8m per day in fuel taxes. For the second quarter that figure was €6.9m per day. This supports the AA view that the policy of super-tax on fuels is actually costing the government money.
“If they were actually getting extra revenue then we wouldn’t like it but we could at least see the logic.” Says Faughnan. “But they are not. This is all pain with no gain. Fuel taxes will have to be reduced and motorists will be expecting to see this in December’s budget.”
Responding to calls from its Members the AA has secured preferential prices from Topaz via the new AA Fuel Card. This gives the motorist a 2 cent per litre reduction on the posted price in any Topaz garage, saving the average driver €36 annually and saving the high-mileage driver much more.
Note: The AA’s Fuel Saving Tips.