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Fuel price rises driving people to cut back on food so they can fill cars

One in 10 motorists has also switched from using vehicle to walking


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Thousands of people are cutting back on their food shopping so they can fill their cars with fuel.

The record high prices for petrol and diesel mean a third of people are now spending more than €100 a month filling their diesel cars, a new AA Ireland survey reveals.

The price of a litre of motor fuel has passed €2.20 in many forecourts, with the high cost putting a huge strain on motorists.

An AA Ireland survey of more than 4,200 drivers reveals that 27pc of respondents spend more than €100 a month filling their petrol vehicle.

Another 34pc spend more than €100 a month filling their diesel vehicle.

The survey was carried out in early June, but prices have risen again since then.

This means that based on current prices it would cost around €108 to fill a petrol car.

The record prices of petrol and diesel has meant that 42pc of survey respondents said what they now spend on their weekly food shopping has been affected.

And half of the respondents said the costs have forced them to cut out fun or pleasurable activities with their family.

It comes as the cost of filling a typical family car with petrol has gone up by €11 in the past two weeks alone.

Diesel prices are up 11c in the past fortnight, with petrol up by 22c a litre.

It will now cost €750 more this year to fuel a petrol car than the annual cost last year, according to the survey from AA Ireland.

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The AA said a typical car has the capacity to hold 50 litres of fuel, meaning a full tank of petrol will cost €11 more than two weeks ago with a full tank of diesel working out at €5.50 over the same time period.

Because of the rising costs, 10pc of motorists have switched to walking instead of driving and 9pc have started using public transport.

When asked what would help rising costs, 37pc said they wanted to see a reduction in VAT. Others want to see carbon tax reduced, and further cuts to excise duty. 

Around a quarter of respondents want all tax removed from fuel to help consumers cope with soaring prices.

Taxes and levies total about 90c on a €2.20 litre of fuel at the pumps.

A third of people want a temporary price cap introduced. Others want more incentives for buying electric vehicles.

When asked if they will holiday at home this year, a third of respondents said they are less likely to stay at home because of the high cost of motor fuel.

Almost one in five will take a holiday abroad instead.

The survey results come as petrol prices have increased by 11.5pc in the last two weeks, up from an average of €1.91 per litre to €2.13.

This is 41pc more expensive than last year and 66pc more expensive than two years ago.

Diesel is now 45pc more expensive than last year, jumping from €1.41 per litre to €2.05 per litre.

AA Ireland’s Anna Cullen said: “We are reaching very worrying levels in terms of fuel costs and the survey shows that these fuel costs are affecting other areas of family life, such as food shopping and family activities.”

Ms Cullen said that where people can, they should use public transport, walk and cycle, but this isn’t always possible in rural areas, where public transport options can be limited.

Meanwhile, fuel prices in the UK are to be investigated by Britain's competition watchdog as pump prices hit another record high despite chancellor Rishi Sunak's 5p-per-litre tax cut.

Motoring organisation, the RAC, described the "speed and scale" of the rises as "staggering".

The Competition and Markets Authority will conduct a "short and focused review" of prices at the request of the UK’s business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng.

Mr Kwarteng said Britons "are rightly frustrated" that the March tax cut "does not always appear to have been passed through to forecourt prices".  

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