Irish fuel prices reach highest level in 18 months

Motorists could end up spending more than €300 extra on petrol or diesel this year

The cost of petrol and diesel is on the rise. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The cost of petrol and diesel is on the rise. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


The cost of a litre of petrol or diesel has reached its highest level in 18 months, according to the latest monthly fuel prices survey carried out by AA Ireland.

The average price of a litre of petrol is now 137.7 cent, an increase of 1 cent on February prices. Diesel costs 127.1c per litre on average across the country, a month-on-month increase of 0.7c.

With the latest increase, fuel costs have now reached their highest level since August 2015, when the average cost of petrol and diesel stood at 143.6c and 128.8c per litre respectively.

At the beginning of last year, a litre of petrol cost about €1.20. If a car does 19,000km a year and has a fuel consumption rate of 9.5 litres per 100km, it will use roughly 150 litres of fuel per month. If each litre of that fuel costs 18 cent more now than it did last year, the typical motorist can expect to spend €27 more on fuel this month compared with the same month in 2016.

Oil prices

Spread out over a year, that means motorist will spend an additional €324 just to keep their car running. And that is assuming oil prices do not climb any more.

On Monday, Brent crude – the type of crude oil that benchmarks prices across the board – was about $51 a barrel, a fall of $5 since last month. This time last year the cost of a barrel was hovering just above $30.

“While the latest increase is by no means the worst month-on-month hike that we’ve seen recently, it marks the sixth successive month in which we have seen prices climb and continues a trend which is of great concern to many motorists,” said Conor Faughnan, the AA’s director of consumer affairs.

“While it’s easy to say that the factors which cause these increases are outside of our control as a country this simply isn’t the case. The majority of what we pay at the pump is made up of various taxes placed on petrol and diesel and the extent to which we tax fuel spend is something we have direct say over.”

Major driving force

The latest increase comes despite the price of a barrel of oil falling by $5 within the past month, with tax remaining a major driving force behind the overall cost.

According to the latest AA analysis, 86.52 cent of the total pump price for a litre of petrol and 73.67 cent of the total per litre cost of diesel consists of taxes, including VAT and duty.

“During the worst years of the recession tax on petrol and diesel increased by 20 cent and 18 cent per litre respectively and the fact that these taxes have outlived the ‘emergency’ actually acts as an anti-stimulus measure making it more difficult for people to commute to work every day,” Mr Faughnan said.