New Year Begins With Significant Increase at the Pumps

Donegal motorists feeling the brunt at the pumps

Fuel prices drop for fourth month in a row

There has been a small drop in fuel prices according to AA Ireland.

Motorists in Donegal have been greeted with unwelcome news to start the new year, as the AA’s latest fuel price index found that average fuel prices in Ireland had increased significantly over the past month.

According to the AA’s latest monthly survey of fuel prices, a litre of petrol now costs 144.5c on average – an increase of just under 3c on last month’s average price of 141.7c. Meanwhile, diesel drivers have faced an even bigger hit at the pumps as prices increased by 4.5c per litre over the past month, currently sitting at 135.9c per litre.

A period of volatility in crude oil prices has contributed to the increase in pump prices. While the cost of a barrel of crude oil currently costs $64.20, down slightly from last month’s average price of $65-$66, over the course of the past month prices have surged to as high as $68.91 per barrel in response to geopolitical events.

“Over the course of the past week, we have seen an easing of crude oil prices to a more typical level but it still remains a very volatile situation and further increases in the near-term future could occur depending on the next evolution of political matters occurring in the Middle-East. Even if crude oil prices remain at a lower level, it could still take a few weeks for motorists to see that reflected in pump prices depending on when the garage they visit purchased their most recent stock,” Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs stated. “If a garage purchased their current stock at a time when crude oil prices were higher, they may have to charge more for fuel and diesel until their next order so as to cover their costs.”

“From the consumer’s point of view, we do have an advantage in the fact that garages are obliged to openly advertise their prices in their forecourt, making it relatively easy to know if a specific station in your area is charging more than the others.

With the increase in pump prices coming ahead of the general election, the AA is urging whichever parties make up the next government to ramp up investment in public transport and cycling infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. A history of underinvestment in viable alternatives, the AA argues, has left many commuters overly reliant on their private car meaning that even when fuel prices increase they have no option but to pay more and continue travelling by car.

“Budget 2020 saw an increase in carbon tax on both petrol and diesel, but in isolation that’s going to achieve very little in terms of encouraging people to travel by means other than the private car. If you take last year for example, petrol prices varied from as low as 132.9c per litre to as high as 146.1c. However, even when prices increased significant there was no reduction in number of people driving which shows that simply increasing the cost of motoring in isolation will achieve nothing,” Faughnan added. 

“If what party or parties that make up the next government want to truly do something in the name of climate change, we need a fast and aggressive wave of investment in viable alternatives, including public transport, electric car infrastructure, and cycle lanes, so that people feel they have an alternative to their car which they can count on to get them to work on time in hail, rain, snow or sunshine.”

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