Diesel 'mystery' deepens as fuel prices surge ahead unevenly
CONSUMERS have been hit with another surge in fuel prices, with both petrol and diesel costing more at the pumps this month.
The Automobile Association said it had "never seen prices rise so fast or reach so high", with diesel now costing 8c more per litre than petrol.
One filling station on Dublin's Usher Quay was yesterday charging an astonishing €1.79.9 per litre for both petrol and diesel as the price of oil hit a record high of $127.43 per barrel.
The AA has called for action to address the price surge and the widening price gap between the fuels.
In its latest price survey, the price of a litre of petrol rose 3.8c (3.1pc) between April and May, to an average of 124.9c -- while diesel prices surged ahead by 7.8c (6pc) to reach 132.4c a litre.
AA public affairs manager Conor Faughnan said: "We have never seen prices rise so fast or reach so high. It is having a major impact on diesel motorists, the cost of haulage and business costs. It's bad for consumers and the economy as a whole."
Mr Faughnan said the Government could reduce prices by cutting excise duty on fuel, though he added that there appeared little appetite for such a move.
One explanation for the rapidly increasing diesel prices is that US refineries overestimated demand for gasoline last year, creating a petrol glut and a diesel shortage in the markets.
Mr Faughnan, however, said the oversupply should have worked its way out of the price system by now.
As diesel is used for home and industrial heating, its price usually picks up relative to petrol during the autumn and winter, falling back in spring and summer.
"Diesel prices usually fall at this time of the year, but 2008 has been different," Mr Faughnan said.
"We can understand oil prices pushing up fuel costs, but that does not explain why diesel is affected so much worse than petrol.
"This diesel mystery needs to be solved, and the Irish government and the European Commission need to make it their business to find out what is going on."
Diesel historically sold at 6pc less than petrol, but the fuels were on a par by last November and diesel is now 6pc more expensive than petrol.