The price of petrol and diesel in Ireland continues to be unacceptably high, according to the AA. The latest survey of fuel prices from the AA shows that in September a litre of petrol cost 161.2 cent, up by 1.1 cent on the figure for August. Diesel also rose, up by 2.1 cent to an average of 152.1 cent per litre.
“High fuel prices continue to be a major problem for Irish motorists and for Irish businesses,” says Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan.
“2013 has been another grim year in that regard. While we are at the mercy of international market forces we should not allow that to blind us to the fact that most of our problems are self-inflicted.
“There is simply too much tax on petrol and diesel.”
In the last week or so prices have moderated slightly in response to the fall in the value of the US dollar. Hence motorists are doing a little better at the pumps in the last week compared to the average price for September. Even so the AA believes that the government must act on fuel prices in the budget on October 15.
“There have been months where the combination of the oil price and the dollar price have swung in our favour and months when they have gone against us,” says Faughnan. “But what motorists should remember is that the main problem that we have is not market volatility, it is the Irish government.”
Since the fiscal crisis began in mid 2008 there have been five separate tax increases in both petrol and diesel.
“Between them these have added approximately 23 cent per litre to the retail price of both fuels. Taxes now account for 57% of the retail price of petrol, and 51% of the retail price of diesel. The AA believes that the time is now right for the government to ease that burden.
“High fuel costs are an anti-stimulus measure,” says Faughnan. “They add to the cost of living and they take disposable income out of local economies. High diesel costs also add significantly to the cost of doing business here in Ireland.
“We are an island economy which moves 95% of its goods by road. We are more vulnerable than most small countries to high prices, hence it is particularly unwise for us to impose those high prices on ourselves.”
The AA calculates that AA Fuel Usage figures a car that does 12,000 miles per year (19,200 kms) at a fuel consumption rate of 30 miles per gallon (9.42 litres per 100 kms) will use 150 litres of fuel per month.
“At current prices that motorist will pay this €241.80 month for petrol of which €137.82. If petrol were taxed at the same rate as it was before the emergency budget of October 2008, a litre would cost 138.2 cent and a month’s fuel would cost only €207.30.