The IPRA also rejected claims that costs could be cheaper again if retailers trimmed margins, claiming there was “vigorous competition” in the market.
The representative body was responding to claims that, while oil prices have plummeted, not all the savings have been passed on to people at the pumps. Last week, oil prices slumped to their lowest point in 12 years at $32 a barrel.
Managing director of Petrel Resources, David Horgan, said Irish motorists had got a “raw deal” in the past 18 months. “If the industry charged the same percentages as they did 18 months ago, Irish motorists would only be paying 95c per litre of petrol and less than 90c per litre of diesel,” he said.
David Blevings, spokesman for IPRA, said oil prices are under pressure because of falling demand.
“Prices have already fallen by over 30% or around 50c per litre since the end of 2013 and we are now seeing the market reacting to what Goldman Sachs have been saying for some time, prices will be lower for longer.”
Responding to calls that the retail price could be even lower, he said: “The recent reductions in crude oil price will work its way into refined product prices and retail prices in the next week.
“Consumers should remember that over 60% of the pump price goes to the Government in duty, carbon, tax, and Vat and the retailer only responds to increases and decreases in the wholesale price. The retail margin is very small with vigorous competition, as verified by the National Consumers Agency in their 2008 report, which stated that the local retail fuels market is highly price sensitive and competitive, with price changes being passed on swiftly.”