Booze, fags and fuel: Is Dublin or Newry cheaper?

Cigarettes and diesel are cheaper in the Republic, new Revenue price survey finds

Cigarettes were cheaper in the Republic in August, survey finds. Photograph: Eric Luke

Cigarettes were cheaper in the Republic in August, survey finds. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Cigarettes and diesel are cheaper in the Republic than in the North, according to a new Revenue price survey, which compared prices in August.

The survey, which focuses on taxes and goods incurring high rates of duty – such as alcohol, fuel and cigarettes – finds that, in general, prices remain cheaper in Northern Ireland. However, the two big exceptions to this rule are cigarettes and diesel, both of which were cheaper in the Republic last month.

The survey was conducted by Revenue in retail outlets in both Dublin and Newry on August 15th, and is based on a euro exchange rate of £0.9166.

Sterling has strengthened against the euro since then. Today’s rate is £0.89648, which means the gap between the cost of cigarettes and diesel in the North and the Republic will have widened – making them even more cheaper down South – while, at this exchange rate, unleaded petrol is also cheaper in the Republic.

The report also finds that price differences are not all down to currency fluctuations; in general, Ireland imposes substantially greater taxes and duties on the selected goods than in Northern Ireland.

In August a box of 20 cigarettes was actually €0.50 cheaper in the Republic, at €13, compared with €13.47 in Northern Ireland. And this is despite the fact that taxes and duties in the Republic were actually 7 per cent greater here than in the North. And, given the fluctuation in currency since then, if you were to go North today, you’d find that cigarettes will be even more expensive, at about €13.80.

Similarly, a litre of diesel emerged as considerably cheaper in the Republic compared with the North in the August survey, at €1.34 compared with €1.44. This is because taxes and duties on diesel are actually lower in the Republic (based on aforementioned exchange rate), at €0.73 a litre compared with €0.87 in the North, a difference of almost 20 per cent.

Cheaper in the North

What might lure you to the North, however, is if you’re in the market for some prosecco or cava. With a typical price of €18.50 in the Republic, opting for some bubbles for a celebration from the North will cost just €10.50, almost 50 per cent cheaper.

The reason for the price difference comes down wholly to taxes and duties; you’ll pay an extra €5 in the Republic for your bottle of bubbly, or almost €10 in taxes and duties compared with less than €5 in the North. Indeed taxes account for 60 per cent of the price difference between the two regions.

A bottle of bubbles is almost 50 per cent cheaper in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg
A bottle of bubbles is almost 50 per cent cheaper in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

And if you’re a fan of a cosmopolitan or a vodka martini, it may well be worth your while crossing the Border. The Revenue survey shows you’ll save yourself €5.27 on a typical bottle of vodka by heading North, with vodka more than 25 per cent more expensive in the Republic. This is largely down to the fact taxes and duties on vodka are 28 per cent greater in the Republic.

When it comes to wine, it is cheaper in the North – but perhaps not by as much as you might expect. The savings in Northern Ireland on a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, for example, come to €1.08, despite a greater burden of duties and taxes in the Republic – €4.92, compared with €3.80 in Northern Ireland.