Sneaky petrol price rises are back at a petrol pump near you
Relief for hard-pressed drivers proved short-lived, as petrol and diesel wholesalers and retailers have returned to their price-rising habits of old.
It was great while it lasted.
Record falls in the price of crude oil had seen the average driver paying around €40 less a month for petrol and diesel.
But in the last few weeks drivers have seen retailers raise their prices again.
Petrol retailers have blamed the weakening of the euro against the dollar, as crude oil is priced in the American currency.
Higher costs of refining oil for use in cars and other vehicles have also been blamed for the reversal of fortune that had helped drivers cut costs for a while.
Drivers are now having to pay between 2c and 5c more a litre at the pumps.
All this comes at a time when official figures show motor insurance premiums going up at an annual rate of 15pc. That means an extra €45 a year on a €300 premium.
Many drivers understandably feel that petrol retailers have been quick to push up prices, while it seem to take an age for prices to fall to reflect the ongoing crash in crude oil prices.
And it is true that prices at the pumps are going up again at a time when crude prices are still on the floor.
Crude prices plummeted between June and January, losing 60pc of their value.
But petrol retailers say they are being forced to charge more because they are having to pay more.
AA Ireland's Conor Faughnan says there is no evidence that petrol retailers are pushing prices quicker than they had reduced them.
However, it certainly is the case that filling up your car with petrol in Ireland is too expensive compared with other countries.
According to research compiled by Bloomberg, Ireland is the 14th most expensive place in the world to fill your car with petrol.
Blame for this situation rests with an insatiable State that guzzles taxes from drivers, in terms of excise duty, valued added tax and carbon tax on petrol and diesel. And that is to say nothing of road tax, tolls, the cost of an NCT (national car testing) and the levy on your motor insurance policy.
Drivers pay a hugely disproportionate cost in taxes and levies, which is especially galling given that we are one of the most car-dependent countries in the EU.
And who could blame people for taking to their cars when the provision of public transport is so patchy, and those who have good rail and bus services have seen hikes of up to 40pc in the prices in the past few years, as commuters have slyly been used to make up for cuts in public subventions.
The price of petrol and diesel in Ireland continues to be unacceptably high.
If the Government was not taking 60c in taxes and other charges of every €1 spent, then drivers would be far better off.
Sunday Indo Business