Drivers warned that petrol and diesel prices are set to rise after record falls
DRIVERS have been warned to expect to pay more for petrol and diesel, with prices already rising in some parts of the country.
Petrol retailers have begun to push up prices at the pumps despite continued low crude oil costs. The move has been criticised by consumer groups.
Record falls in the price of crude oil had seen the average driver paying around €40 less a month for petrol and diesel.
But drivers reported at the weekend that some retailers have begun to raise their prices.
Petrol retailers blamed the weakening of the euro against the dollar, as crude oil is priced in the American currency.
AA Ireland's Conor Faughnan warned drivers to now expect to end up having to pay between 2c and 3c more a litre over the next few weeks.
But he said there was no evidence that petrol retailers were pushing prices quicker than they had reduced them.
Crude oil prices have halved, with the price still hovering around $50 (€44), but the weakening euro was making it more expensive for retailers to buy refined petrol and diesel.
"Oil prices have reached the bottom. We had six months of falls, but that is now over prices will trend up again.
"Drivers can expect to pay between 2c and 3c more per litre over the next week or so," Mr Faughnan said.
Petrol per litre has come down from €1.57 per litre last July to around €1.30 at the moment, he said.
As the average driver uses 150 litres a month, this means that the cost today of fuel has reduced by €41 a month for the typical motorist. Diesel car drivers are now paying around €178 a month, €43 less a month than last summer.
David Blevings of the Irish Petrol Retailers' Association (IPRA) said its members were being forced to pay more for fuel, and had to pass this on.
"The simple answer is that refined fuel prices have increased over $80 (€70)/tonne in the past 10 days and the retailers have no choice but to pass on increases that they are being hit with."
The IPRA, which represents 500 independent fuel retailers, said fuel retailing was very transparent business, with costs being added on when they occur.
Michael Kilcoyne of the Consumers Association of Ireland criticised the rise in prices, and called on the Government to cut the excise duty and valued added tax on petrol and diesel.
But the Department of Finance said it would cost €223m to the State to cut the duty on petrol and diesel by 10pc on each fuel.