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Fuel Prices Steady But For How Long?

Recent news in from the AA has revealed fuel prices remain steady across the country and their most recent survey. The average petrol price across the state is €1.61, just 0.6% more than in December 2022. Diesel fuel has dropped slightly, with the average at €1.71, 1.7% less than in December 2022. This steadying of prices comes ahead of an EU-wide ban on the importation of Russian oil products, which comes into effect from February 5th, which could lead to price increases.

The government is also due to end a reduction on duty on petrol and diesel at the end of February. Before Russia invaded the Ukraine they were Europe's largest external fuel supplier, and the continent has continued to buy in significant volumes up to the cutoff. Subsequently, the sanctions are likely to see a great rerouting of global diesel — helped by Russia's new crude buyers, most likely, sending fuel back to Europe.

"Europe has been raising its diesel imports from Asia and the Middle East; the two regions are now expected to shoulder most of its exports after the ban comes into place. The longer freight distances, however, and higher demand for tankers shipping the fuel into Europe have meant that freight rates are rising, potentially adding to the cost for consumers at the pumps. In the short term, there's a risk of higher prices," said AA Ireland's Head of Communications, Paddy Comyn.

The proposed cessation of the excise duty on petrol and diesel will increase fuel prices by 15 cents per litre for diesel and 20 cents per litre for petrol. The AA Ireland has called for this increase to be staggered to avoid difficulties at fuel stations.

"Suddenly switching off the excise duty reductions overnight will inevitably lead to anxiety leading up to the end of February, which could lead to tailbacks filling stations or pumps running dry in certain areas. A more prudent approach would be to stagger this over two to three months. There remains uncertainty because of the Ukraine conflict and the EU's imminent ban on Russian oil products, particularly diesel, so a staggered reduction in duty could offer a buffer to any potential increases," adds Comyn.

The AA has calculated a diesel car will travel, on average, around 850km on a tank vs 700km in petrol, which is why even though diesel is more expensive, the consumer is still likely to use less of it for the same average 17,000km per year.


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