January 2013 has seen a slight fall in the average price of fuel for Ireland’s hard pressed motorists, according to the latest national survey of prices from AA Ireland.
A litre of petrol now costs an average of 157.9 cent, down 1.5 cent on the figure for December. Diesel costs an average of 150.8 cents per litre, down 1.9 cents since December.
“Obviously we are happier reporting a fall than a rise, but this barely counts as good news.” Says Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan. “Fuel is still extremely expensive and all through last year we were reporting fresh record highs. It is a little lower now than it was last Autumn but it remains the single biggest expense for motorists and it continues to hit working families hard.”
Oil prices have been relatively stable in recent weeks and the improvement at the pumps is more down to slight improvements in the exchange rate between the Euro and the US dollar. The Winter has been mild so far which has had the effect of reducing the demand for heating oil in the across Europe; this has had a favourable effect on diesel prices and diesel motorists are getting some benefit from that.
The bigger problem remains Irish taxation. Although the AA argued successfully against any further tax increases in December’s budget it remains the case that 55% of the price of petrol and 58% of the price of diesel is tax. A typical motorist will spend €237 per month on petrol of which €138 is tax.
“Essentially, the update this month is that a desperately bad situation did not get any worse. But we are still waiting for a meaningful improvement in terms of the cost of transport for Irish drivers.”