A litre of petrol now costs 157.0 cent, up 2.1 cent since last month. Diesel also rose and is up by 1.3 cent per litre to an average price of 154.4. These are all-time record levels for both fuels.
The AA calculates that a car doing 12,000 miles per year at a fuel economy rate of 30 miles per gallon uses 150 litres of fuel per month. For petrol users that monthly bill is now €235.50, for diesel users the cost is €231.60. That monthly cost is up by €18.75 on February of last year for petrol users and up by €23.85 for diesel users (the average costs were 144.5 cent and 138.5 cent 12 months ago).
“Motorists are on to us every day of the week extremely angry at the fuel price rip off.” Says Director of Policy Conor Faughnan. “There is no doubt about the fact that we are being ripped off but the culprits are not the local garages. It is our own government and the policy of super-taxes on fuels. This began under the last government in 2008 and has continued under the current government, which added another four cent per litre in the last budget.”
As a direct response to these pleas the AA has launched a new fuel card available to Members which offers a 2 cent discount on the price of a litre of petrol and diesel at over 350 topaz stations nationwide. “While this helps a bit and we’re glad to be able to do something prices are still a major worry.” Says Faughnan.
There are three separate factors that have pushed our prices to previously undreamt-of highs according to the AA. Two of those factors are outside Irish control but the high level of taxation is not.
The Euro has weakened significantly against the US dollar in the last number of months. That net drop in the value of the Euro has pushed up the price of importing oil into Europe. At the same time, European wholesale fuel prices have been irrationally high right across the Continent.
“It makes little sense but it is genuinely happening and it is not confined to Ireland.” Says Faughnan. “The outlook for economic growth is weak and up until the start of February the weather had been very mild. This should mean low fuel prices but that did not happen. It is bizarre but we should not let it make us lose sight of the fact that the biggest problem that we have is home grown taxation.”
From the emergency budget of October 2008 to the new government’s first budget last December there have been 5 separate tax increases on both fuels, between them adding approximately 22 cent per litre to the retail price.
“Were it not for those tax we would be talking about petrol at €1.35 and diesel at €1.32.” says Faughnan. “When you do the maths that means for an ordinary family the tax that you pay on fuel is €396 per year higher.”
Note: The AA’s Fuel Saving Tips.