“End of the road” for low pump prices, says AA

The AA is warning motorists that the period of cheap fuel prices has come to an end after both diesel and unleaded fuel costs continued to climb this month.

A litre of petrol now costs an average of 129.1c, up 3.1c, while diesel rose by 2.1c to 113.2c, according to the AA’s survey of national fuel prices.

Growing pump prices are a result of the recent rise in the cost of oil which is now sitting at $47 per barrel, up from $44 last month.

The AA report finds that a monthly average of €4.65 has now been added to the cost of filling up a car that runs on 150 litres of petrol per month. A typical Irish motorist is now spending around €193.65 per month on the fuel.

“Much has been said about oil producers appearing to edge closer towards limiting their output and the growth in prices would seem to be reflective of recent headlines,” says AA Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan.

“Huge trades made on international exchanges are far removed from the consumer. In fact, you can sometimes see price movements even throughout a single day as trading can get spooked in response to headlines,” adds Conor. “It settles down on a longer time-line and for now we are only seeing the minor side effects of rumoured oil production limits.”

However, the AA believes this, and even currency strength, to be only part of the story of high fuel prices for Irish consumers.

“The bigger issue is tax, and of your €190 or so monthly fuel bill nearly €130 goes directly to the Government in tax. If oil pursues its current pattern we could see fuel prices continue to accumulate well into 2016.

“We would like to see the new Government remove the austerity taxes slapped on between 2008 and 2012 by their predecessors. This is nothing short of an anti-stimulus measure and is effectively taking money out of the pockets of consumers,” adds Conor.

To see a full breakdown of this month’s fuel prices, please click here.

9 fuel saving tips that every motorist should know

To help battle against higher fuel prices, the AA offers 9 fuel saving tips that every motorist should know this summer:

  • Go for value: buy fuel in units of litres, not Euros as better value appears more obvious.
  • Shop around: don’t always use the same garage out of habit.
  • Easy does it: drive smoothly, accelerate gently and read the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking
  • Decelerate smoothly: when you have to slow down or to stop, decelerate smoothly by releasing the accelerator in time, leaving the car in gear
  • Rolling: if you can keep the car moving all the time, so much the better; stopping then starting again uses more fuel than rolling
  • Change up earlier: don’t labour the engine but try changing up at an engine speed of around 2,000 rpm in a diesel car or around 2,500 rpm in a petrol car. This can make such a difference that all cars in the future are likely to be fitted with a ‘Gear Shift indicator’ light to show the most efficient gear change points.
  • Cut down on the air-con: air-conditioning increases fuel consumption at low speeds, but at higher speeds the effects are less noticeable. So if it’s a hot day open the windows around town and save the air conditioning for high speed driving. Don’t leave air-con on all the time but aim to run it at least once a week throughout the year to maintain the system in good condition.
  • Turn it off: electrical loads increase fuel consumption, so turn off your heated rear windscreen, demister blowers and headlights, when you don’t need them
  • Stick to speed limits: the faster you go the greater the fuel consumption and pollution. Driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph.

Reference. If a car does 12,000 miles per year and gets 30 miles per gallon (19,200 kilometres at 9.42 litres per 100kms) it will therefore use 150 litres of petrol per month. In April 2016 that month’s supply would have cost 126.0 cent per litre x 150 which is €189. At today’s price that calculation is 129.1 cent x 150 which is €193.65, a difference of €4.65.

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