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Saturday 20 October 2018

Tax hikes drive price of petrol and diesel up European league table

Treacy Hogan

THE price paid by Irish motorists for petrol and diesel has shot up the league table of fuel costs in Europe because of a raft of taxes.

But we're still not yet paying the highest amount for a fill-up at the forecourt pumps.

Our counterparts in 11 other countries actually pay more for their fuel, a new survey reveals.

The wholesale price of petrol is broadly the same in all countries in Europe – the difference is the level of taxation added on by various governments.

Prior to 2008, we had the cheapest petrol in Europe.

But after five years of extra taxes, we have now moved up the league table to 12th most expensive country for petrol and diesel, the Irish Independent has learned.

Various government tax increases since October 2008 have added 23 cent per litre to the retail price of petrol. The findings dispel the myth held by many motorists here that we pay among the highest prices for petrol and diesel.

Research shows that the Government is now getting almost 60pc of the pump price of a litre of petrol, through a raft of taxes including carbon tax, NORA – the National Oil Reserve Agency levy, VAT and excise duties.

If a car does 12,000 miles per year (19,200km) at a fuel consumption rate of 30 miles per gallon (9.42 litres per 100km), that car will use 150 litres of fuel per month.

For a typical motorist, that means paying €240 for fuel every month of which €131.50 is tax.

In a year, a typical Irish motorist will pay nearly €1,600 in tax on fuel.

A survey of 27 countries carried out this month by the Automobile Association (AA ) found that drivers in Norway pay the most for a litre of petrol – €1.92 – despite owning all the North Sea oil off their shores.

They are followed by the Netherlands (€1.86), Italy (€1.81), Sweden (€1.77) and Greece (€1.72). Poland had the cheapest fuel at the forecourt, charging its drivers just €1.32 a litre, closely followed by Latvia (€1.34), Estonia (€1.36) and Luxembourg (€1.37).

Our nearest neighbours in the UK pay slightly more, forking out €1.61 for every litre they buy. Ireland is in 12th place. The price of petrol and diesel crept upwards at the pumps this month for the first time since last September.

AA corporate affairs spokesman Conor Faughnan said: "We used to have the cheapest petrol in Europe in 2008. But since October that year, the various government taxes have added 23c onto a litre of petrol."

"In countries like Norway they have higher fuel taxes, but they don't have the full range of motor taxes we have, such as VAT, insurance levy, Vehicle Registration Tax, tolls, motor tax. We have them all."

Mr Faughnan said speculation on oil markets is probably adding about 4c to a litre of petrol across all countries.

Irish Independent

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