The price of filling the car at the highest for 30 years

The price to fill the car is at its highest level since the AA began monitoring petrol and diesel prices regularly in 1991 and is approaching the €2 per liter mark.

On the last day of January the average retail price for a liter of petrol was 175.5c and 166.1c for diesel.

Two weeks ago an average liter of petrol cost 170.3c and diesel 160.5, rising by more than 5c for both in short order.

Anna Cullen of AA Ireland said the records were first hit in November but the latest fuel price hikes have eclipsed them again.

“It’s very worrying,” she said, citing the high price of oil around the world. “It doesn’t look like they’re going to drop any time soon.”

Rural areas hardest hit

Ms Cullen said the price increases were particularly felt in rural areas, where public transport options might not be enough to get around, while low-income families needing the car to get around will also feel the increases.

According to statistics from the Central Statistical Office, the cost of petrol increased by 31.8% last year and the cost of diesel increased by 35.9%. The average liter of petrol cost around 129.9c at the start of 2021 and 120.8c for diesel.

The added cost of filling up the car is among the biggest price hikes of the past year, as the skyrocketing cost of living leaves many people feeling the pinch.

Charities said low-income families are disproportionately affected by inflation within the Irish economy as the cost of essential goods and services has risen.

The government has been called on to do more to help families and households cope with soaring energy and fuel costs, with Cabinet ready to consider a range of options to ease the pressure. So far it has included a €100 reduction scheme on electricity bills and the removal of exit certificate fees.

Irish government. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins” title=”Transport commentator Conor Faughnan says the fact that fuel prices are so expensive here is a choice of the Irish government. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins” class=”card-img”/>
Transport commentator Conor Faughnan says the fact that fuel prices are so expensive here is a choice of the Irish government. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Transport commentator Conor Faughnan said that for motorists spending more of their income on fuel, the blame does not lie solely with rising global fuel prices.

“It’s a case of chickens coming home to roost,” he said. “The current price of oil is not unprecedented. In fact, it has been higher in the past.

“The fact that it’s so expensive here is a choice of the Irish government.”

According to data from the World Bank, the last time the average barrel of crude oil reached such a high was in 2014. The price remained consistently above 2021 levels between 2010 and 2014.

Mr. Faughnan pointed out that the fuel tax, including carbon taxes, contributes to the high cost of fuel here.

According to AA data, 62.77c of the 175.5c average cost of a liter of petrol goes to excise duty, including carbon tax.

In a dead end

Mr Faughnan said that for many people their travel needs will not change, so they must continue to stock up on fuel even as the cost increases.

“What’s striking are other discretionary spending,” he said. “That could mean take-out family home evening is disappearing.”

He added: “Over the last year, since this time 12 months ago, that’s an increase of around 40c a litre. That’s a pretty bleak increase on what is a regular spend.

“It has a significant impact.”

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