Tuesday, 18th September 2018
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There's bad news for Ireland's motorists again this month as the cost of both petrol and diesel have continued their recent rise at the pumps. A litre of petrol now costs an average of 162.1 cent, up 2.7 cents in the last month. Diesel also rose, up 1.4 cents per litre to an average of 155.1.

"This is certainly disappointing." Says AA Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan. "Fuel prices have been high for so long that we are almost getting used to it. They have nudged down and then up again in recent months but this is at an enormously high level as sky-high Irish taxes are piled on top of rising international prices."

Crude oil prices have been stable and even down slightly in the last month, with Brent crude benchmarked at around $108 on the markets. The Euro vs Dollar rollercoaster has also been a factor. The Euro strengthened a bit in the first 2 months of the year, reaching just over $1.35 in February, before dropping back by about 5 (American) cents in the last few weeks.

"All of this happens beyond our shores and beyond our control but it has huge consequences for ordinary Irish people." Says Faughnan. "You cannot overstate the hardship that this causes. We heard recently from an AA Member who told us that he had to take a week's holidays at the end of January because the family simply could not afford to put petrol in the car and hence he physically could not do the commute."

Much attention centres on international prices for oil and the dollar and those are indeed very significant factors. But the AA is also concerned about the degree of financial speculation on fuel in Europe, which artificially lifts prices. This ‘speculation premium' can add as much as 4 cent per litre to the price that motorists pay, according to the AA.

"Speculation by traders in oil & its derivatives can add substantially to our fuel costs." says Faughnan. "This happens as traders buy and sell future options, which can work both ways but often pushes prices up. Recently, there was a peak in speculation around March / April 2012, and again around October 2012, and it appears to be happening again right now."

Away from international factors the AA again makes the point that there is too much tax on Irish fuel.

"When you put €20 into your tank to buy petrol, about €11.40 of it is tax." Says Faughnan. "Remember that since 2008 there has been an extra 23 cent per litre added to the taxes that we pay."

"There are other EU countries that have as much or even slightly more fuel tax. But they tend not to have the additional motoring taxes that we endure here. We have VRT, 23% VAT, a 5% levy on Motor

Insurance, very expensive annual Car Tax, extensive tolls and sky-high fuel taxes as well. It is fundamentally unfair to the motoring sector and it is hurting ordinary people."

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