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New Year starts with 'significant' increase in price of petrol and diesel

A litre of petrol now costs 144.5c on average.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

FUEL PRICES HAVE increased “significantly” since the start of the New Year, a AA has warned. 

A litre of petrol now costs 144.5c on average – an increase of just under 3c on last month’s average price of 141.7c. Meanwhile, diesel drivers have faced an even bigger hit at the pumps as prices increased by 4.5c per litre over the past month, currently sitting at 135.9c per litre.

The AA said that a “period of volatility in crude oil prices” has contributed to the increase in pump prices. While the cost of a barrel of crude oil currently costs $64.20, down slightly from last month’s average price of $65-$66, over the course of the past month prices have surged to as high as $68.91 per barrel in response to geopolitical events.

AA’s Conor Faughnan said: “Over the course of the past week, we have seen an easing of crude oil prices to a more typical level but it still remains a very volatile situation and further increases in the near-term future could occur depending on the next evolution of political matters occurring in the Middle-East.

“Even if crude oil prices remain at a lower level, it could still take a few weeks for motorists to see that reflected in pump prices depending on when the garage they visit purchased their most recent stock.

“If a garage purchased their current stock at a time when crude oil prices were higher, they may have to charge more for fuel and diesel until their next order so as to cover their costs.”

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With the increase in pump prices coming ahead of the general election, the AA is urging whichever parties make up the next government to ramp up investment in public transport and cycling infrastructure, particularly in rural areas.

Faughnan added: ““Budget 2020 saw an increase in carbon tax on both petrol and diesel, but in isolation that’s going to achieve very little in terms of encouraging people to travel by means other than the private car.

“If what party or parties that make up the next government want to truly do something in the name of climate change, we need a fast and aggressive wave of investment in viable alternatives, including public transport, electric car infrastructure, and cycle lanes, so that people feel they have an alternative to their car which they can count on to get them to work on time in hail, rain, snow or sunshine.”

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