Instead of cheering fuel tax cut, most motorists will be asking: ‘Is that all?’

Consumers know they will lose more as a result of spikes in fuel, electricity and gas

Context is everything. In normal times an announcement from the Government that it was rolling out an immediate tax cut which would see the annual costs faced by motorists fall by about €250 and knock at least €10 off the price of a tank of fuel would be universally welcomed.

If such an announcement came in the same week that a €200 rebate on home energy costs was given the green light, then those responsible could look forward to days – if not weeks or even months – of basking in the glow of a grateful public.

But these are anything but normal times and the response to the measures has, at best, been muted. Instead of cheering the news, most people will have found themselves asking: Is that all?

It is not a lack of gratitude but rather an acute awareness of what is happening in the world that will have fuelled such a response.

Price spikes

Although just under €500 will be given back to consumers in the months ahead, they know they will lose a whole lot more as a result of savage spikes in the price of motor fuel, electricity and gas.

Most of us will be worse off by about €2,000 in 2022 because of higher energy costs.

While that would be a bitter enough financial pill for most people to swallow at the best of times, the energy price hikes are coming at the very worst of times.

General inflation has reached levels not seen in this country in more than 20 years and there are growing fears that the Russian invasion of Ukraine will see food prices climb faster and higher than the most pessimistic scenarios would have envisaged even this time last month.

And the grimmest of realities is that things are likely to get worse before they get better. They only question is just how bad might things get.