Petrol to rise again despite world oil price fall
But competition having an impact on charges
Published 09/03/2011 | 05:00
MOTORISTS face another hike in the price of petrol from today even though world oil prices have begun to fall.
Two major wholesalers were set to introduce a rise of 1c per litre in the price of fuel last night , with others due to follow tonight .
That means many filling stations which have hiked prices to over €1.50 a litre could raise them further in coming days.
A survey by the Irish Independent yesterday found motorists are being charged up to €1.599 per litre for petrol -- at Esso in Dublin Airport -- although prices as low as €1.439 are available elsewhere.
Wholesalers Esso and Top were increasing prices by around 1c per litre last night, while Topaz, Applegreen, Texaco, Amber and independents will do so tonight, the Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA) said.
Drivers could save by waiting until the weekend to fill up, when the wholesale price is projected to start falling again, IPRA chief executive Michael Griffin said.
This is because world oil prices fell back sharply yesterday to $113 a barrel for Brent crude, down from $120 last week, as OPEC oil countries prepared to boost supplies because of the turmoil in Libya.
Local competition is also having an impact, with border counties offering the best deal, our survey found. One Dublin station dropped its price from €1.50 to €1.49 yesterday without any wholesale price change.
Asked if this suggested some stations had initially taken advantage of oil price rises to push up their own prices, the IPRA said it showed they were responding to competition.
"Factors of local competition apply, and a place that is making a margin of 4-5c a litre on petrol may decide it has to cut that to 3c in order not to lose business," said Mr Griffin.
Many retailers had got an angry response from motorists when prices passed the €1.50 mark but the reality was the Government was taking the biggest share, and filling stations were losing business as drivers cut back, he added.
AA spokesperson Conor Faughnan said that while there might be isolated cases of customer rip-offs, overall Irish fuel prices tracked world oil prices very closely.
"Anecdotal evidence suggests the average price is just a whisker short of €1.50, but prices typically vary 5 to 6 cent above and below the average, so with prices this high, it has never been more important to shop around," he said.
The Consumers' Association of Ireland (CAI) urged drivers to bypass stations charging exhorbitant rates.
"Make sure never to let your tank go down to zero, or you could be forced to fill up at a higher rate," said Michael Kilcoyne of the CAI. "But the biggest ripoff in this is the Government as they're taking the biggest share. Reducing fuel costs has to be top of the agenda for them because it's the life-blood of the economy and they could at least remove the carbon tax while prices are this high," he said.
Some stations were experiencing a boom in cross-border trade as Northern motorists flee the higher diesel prices.
Austin Woods, manager of Extra Value Fuels in Castleblaney, Co Monaghan, reported a big increase in drivers from the North filling up on diesel in the last three weeks.
Diesel there has reached around £1.39 (€1.63) per litre while petrol has hit £1.339 (€1.56).
Irish fuel prices are midway on the EU price chart.