Motorists hit twice as garages double 4c petrol rise
PETROL prices have been hiked by more than double the 4c excise rise provided for in the Budget.
The Automobile Association (AA) said that angry drivers contacted them to report huge increases in prices at garages around the country.
Prices at the pumps had been averaging at less than €1.32 in the AA's November survey, but now that has shot up to €1.40 or more, AA Policy Director Conor Faughnan said yesterday.
A survey of prices by the Irish Independent yesterday also found a huge discrepancy countrywide, with many petrol stations charging more than €1.40 per litre.
Petrol prices have topped the previous record set in July-August 2008 when they reached around €1.35, even though oil prices are nowhere near the US$150 a barrel seen back then.
Mr Faughnan said: "Motorists are seeing prices up as much as 10c a litre. There is no doubt that the price rises far outstrip the excise increase.
"The question is whether that is legitimate or profiteering?"
However he said that he believed that the price rise had been happening all over northern Europe during recent weeks, for apparently valid reasons.
The euro had weakened against the dollar, while oil prices had gone up to $90 a barrel. And in Europe the price of refined oil and diesel prices has increased further because of market paranoia about disruption to supplies during the cold snap.
"People naturally feel sceptical when they've only heard about a 4c rise in excise," said Mr Faughnan.
But it should be remembered that the government was responsible for 19c of the increases over the last two years, he added.
The survey by the Irish Independent revealed that prices have gone even higher than €1.40 at some garages, with one Dublin filling station charging €1.429 for petrol yesterday as new stations on the main motorways charged €1.419.
Tipperary drivers had access to the lowest priced petrol in our survey at just €1.327 at an Amber service station on Bansha Road. Diesel prices varied from €1.288 to €1.349 a litre.
Mr Faughnan said even when prices were generally rising, it was always worth shopping around because there were significant savings to be made.
He noted that some garages with a high turnover would have increased their prices ahead of others, because they were getting in fresh supplies at the new higher prices.