The latest AA Monthly index of fuel prices shows that petrol rose yet again, rising by 2.6 cent to reach another record high at an average of 153.3 cent per litre. Diesel fared better, even falling very slightly to 146.0 cent on average, down 0.3 cent.
“The remorseless rise in petrol prices has continued.” Says Director of Policy Conor Faughnan. “It is frustrating. The combination of oil prices, currency fluctuations and the price of wholesale product has played against us once again, pushing up our cost of living in a way that affects almost every family in the country.”
While diesel and petrol both come ultimately from crude oil it is not uncommon for petrol to rise in price faster than diesel at this time of year. Global demand for diesel tends to be somewhat seasonal with increased demand in the Northern hemisphere during winter as diesel is very similar to home heating oil. Summer tends to be the ‘gasoline season’ as more miles are travelled by private cars especially in the US.
“Seeing petrol rise in price faster than diesel seems a little strange but that is often the case at this time of year.” Says Faughnan. “Nevertheless, the price of both fuels remains stubbornly high.”
For petrol users, the latest price rise means that the cost of a month’s fuel for a typical motorist is now €229.95 (based on 12,000 miles per year at a fuel economy rate of 30 miles per gallon, typical for a mixture of urban and rural driving).
Diesel is now the fuel of choice for new cars, with over 70% of new passenger car sales this year. The CO2 advantage of the fuel and its subsequent lower tax rate is changing the vehicle population, but slowly. The majority of private cars (over 60%) still use petrol, a proportion that gets higher for older vehicles.
For diesel users, the AA warns drivers to buy their fuel sensibly and to take care not to buy what looks like very cheap fuel as it may well be too good to be true.
“Go to reputable garages and buy sensibly.” Says Faughnan. “If you are buying fuel very cheaply from a farm gate or some other irregular outlet, it is entirely possible that you could be buying laundered fuel. Quite apart from the legal consequences – a fine of €5,000 is possible – you may damage your engine culminating in a costly repair.”
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