Petrol and diesel prices are at their lowest levels this year, after falling for a second successive month.
According to the Automobile Association (AA), petrol prices fell by an average of 1.5c in the past month, while diesel prices are down by 2.5c per litre.
On average, a litre of petrol now costs 135.1c while a litre of diesel will cost 123.5c, down from April’s prices of 136.6c and 126.0 per litre respectively.
Commenting on the price falls for the last two months, the AA director of consumer affairs Conor Faughnan said they only go so far in counteracting other increases in the cost of motoring in recent months.
“Compared to this time last year, the average motorist is paying 6c more for every litre of petrol they use, with drivers of diesel-powered vehicles paying over 10c more.
“All this means that motorists are now paying just under €10 more per month for petrol than they would have 12 months ago, or forking out an additional €15 per month compared to last year’s prices if they own a diesel vehicle,” he said.
The costs of petrol and diesel are both at their lowest levels in 2017.
However, they remain a long way off the “rock bottom” prices of January 2016 when the price of diesel fell below €1 for the first time since 2009.
A service station in Ballina in Mayo hit the headlines early lst year after it dropped the price to 99c per litre for diesel. The average price for diesel at that time was 112.8c per litre while the average price for petrol had been 126.5c per litre.
In March of this year, fuel costs reached their highest level since August 2015 after six successive months of price rises.
The AA continues to monitor prices on a monthly basis.
The motoring organisation, however, has expressed concern over the tax levels imposed on fuel spend.
Mr Faughnan said the AA’s fuel prices’ survey found taxes accounts for 63.67% of the current price of a litre of petrol and 59.10% of the price of a litre of diesel.
“For many people in Ireland, driving is a necessity due to an absence of reliable public transport, particularly in rural areas, or because the nature of their employment requires that they have access to a car. These people should not be punished by way of excessive taxation because they need a car to get to commute or access reliable employment,” he said.
Mr Faughnan added that, during the recession, the tax on fuel was allowed to rise in response to the emergency situation but that, despite the upturn in the economy, motorists are still being taxed “to emergency standards”.
In line with fuel prices dropping on average nationally, the AA report noted a significant decrease in the cost of a barrel of oil, a key trend in setting fuel prices. Currently, a barrel of oil costs $53.34 down from $55.85 per barrel in April 2017.
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