Cost of living: Irish motorists set to spend €700 extra on petrol and diesel this year
Motorists can expect to spend almost €680 and €700 more on petrol and diesel on average this year because of spiralling fuel prices.
This is what the AA (Automobile Association) told an Oireachtas committee in Leinster House that the rise in prices would cost at the pumps.
And this is taking into account the recent cut in excise duties from the Government that saw their take from a litre of petrol and diesel fall by 20c and 15c respectively.
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The Association’s chief executive, Tom McIlduff, told TDs that petrol has gone up by 62% in the last two years and diesel by a staggering 70%.
But he said this was “practically wiped out” by the wider increases in fuel prices driven by the Russian war in Ukraine and Europe’s heavy reliance on oil and gas from Russia.
The trade association Fuels for Ireland was also in the same committee with TDs yesterday where they said that in just two weeks petrol had gone up by 32c a litre and diesel by 55c.
This was more than double the relief offered to motorists by the Government and it has led to calls for more to be done by ministers in power.
Fuels for Ireland, which represents the fuel businesses, explained how the excise duty cuts have been wiped out already.
Their chief executive, Kevin McPartlan, said: “In the 13 days between the start of the conflict and the Government announcing an excise duty reduction, the wholesale market prices had increased by 26c per litre on Gasoline and 45c per litre on diesel.
“When VAT is applied, petrol ultimately cost Fuels for Ireland Members 32c more per litre, and diesel 55c per litre to bring to consumers.
“So on the day that excise duty was cut, while the cuts succeeded in blunting the price rises, they were never going to entirely eradicate or reverse them.”
Mr McPartlan went on to say that wholesale fuel stocks are perilously low at the moment.
He added: “the maximum commercial stock of fuel products (including crude oil at the refinery) that was held at any point in Ireland was 19 days.
“In the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine, there was a point where there was only one day of commercial stock of diesel held in terminals at Dublin Port.”
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice accused the industry of price gouging and he specifically mentioned green diesel which is used by farmers.
He said: “if it isn’t price gouging that’s going on, I’m a Dutchman.”
Mr McPartlan replied: “There has been great mischaracterisation of the work of the industry during this deeply uncertain time, and we are unhappy over how things have been portrayed in recent weeks, not least the inference that the industry has been engaged in any sort of profiteering.
“This is simply not the case.”
Mr McPartlan said the Government still takes a huge dividend from what people pay at the pumps.
“The reality is that – as shown in AA’s statistics – the price of fuel rose by 34% in the year to February 2022.
“This is the highest level of price change on record and, according to an analysis of data in a soon-to-be-published Grant Thornton report, some 62% of that was composed of taxes and subsidies.”
The Irish Road Hauliers Association (IRHA) were at the same committee.
Their chief executive, Eugene Drennan, said his members were facing an “existential crisis” and that Brexit, Covid and now the war in Ukraine had created “a perfect storm.”
“It is no exaggeration for me to state that the licensed road haulage sector is in a serious existential crisis at present….. Brexit, driver shortages, and Covid 19 constraints on operations have built up a perfect storm for our members, their colleagues and families.”
HGV drivers were recently awarded a €100 a week grant per truck, per week for eight weeks by the Government.
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