Disruption threatened as oil prices hit record high


The Government have been called upon to act on the continuing rise in oil prices by operators in the transport sector.

As oil hit a all-time high of €67 today, taxi drivers sought a 50 cent per mile surcharge to counter high petrol and diesel prices while truckers threatened nationwide blockades if the Government fails to reduce duty on diesel.

Oil reached $67 a barrel earlier today in trading though later slipped back to a price range of $66.40 and $66.59 for light crude.

Pressure on prices continued today after the US refused to rule out using force against OPEC's second biggest producer Iran over its recent revival of its nuclear programme.

The caution caused by the death King Fahd of Saudi Arabia - the world's largest producer of oil - allied to the situation in Iraq is pushing prices ahead.

Analysts say strong demand and a lack of spare capacity in producing countries and the refining industry is also pinning prices close to the $67 mark.

The effect on prices at the fuel pump in Ireland is being felt by drivers as petrol prices hit 108.5 per litre with diesel just a cent behind.

The National Taxi Drivers Union has formally asked the regulator for a 50 cent rise to help absorb the cost of fuel while the Irish Road Hauliers Association says it will blockade ports next month unless the Government agrees a 14-cent rebate on each litre of diesel.