Litre of diesel breaks £2 mark
DIESEL prices have hit a new record high and are expected to continue rising.
War in Ukraine, post-pandemic energy demands and the pound’s weakness against the dollar are all contributing factors.
The average price of diesel in Northern Ireland has risen to 190.4p a litre, with petrol now at 185.6p a litre.
However, prices are even higher in some areas.
In one Belfast filling station yesterday, a litre of diesel was almost £2.04, while the Shore Road facility was charging £1.94 for petrol.
Similar prices have been reported in Co Down.
An Express station in Newry was yesterday charging almost £2.04 for diesel and £1.98 for petrol.
In comparison, last year’s average was £1.29 a litre of diesel.
SDLP MLA Matthew O'Toole described the continued rise in fuel prices as "deeply unconscionable".
"Many people, not just those considered the most vulnerable, are increasingly struggling to make ends meet.
“The SDLP has emergency legislation drafted which will be able to free up over £300m which should be distributed through the Emergency Fuel Payment Scheme, in the absence of a functioning Executive.
"We’d strongly encourage the DUP to support the election of a Speaker so the Assembly can sit and free up this money to help everyone during the cost of living crisis” he said.
The DUP has called on the British government to reduce the price of fuel by cutting duty, taxes and VAT.
Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart tabled an Early Day Motion at Westminster calling for the changes amid the soaring fuel costs.
"At some forecourts, diesel has exceeded £2 per litre and it is projected to rise even further in the weeks ahead," she said.
"More than 50 per cent of cost per litre goes to the Treasury.
"This puts a huge strain on household incomes and on small business that rely on cars and vans to operate.
"For example, the daily commute now costs over a third more than it did before the pandemic hit, but wages are not rising anywhere close to in comparison."
She said people in rural areas who rely on their cars or vans have been badly hit.
And she urged the chancellor to act "without delay".
"Motorists look at the breakdown of where the price per litre goes, and the high percentage that goes to the Government in duty, VAT and green tax," she said.
"Whilst the 5p per litre cut in the spring statement was welcome, the situation now is worse than it was then, that precipitated that cut.
"Indeed, as the price goes up per litre, the Treasury’s percentage tax will lead to a windfall of tax revenue."
People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll described the price increase as a "further blow" for people struggling with the current crisis.
Calling for action, Mr Carroll said "on the face of it the future looks bleak with further expected increases in food and fuel down the line. However, this isn’t the time for inaction or sitting back and leaving things up to 'the market'."
Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson also called for action to reduce fuel taxes and says that he has "serious concerns how this is impacting people for work, school runs and rural communities."
Crude oil, from which petrol and diesel is refined, was trading at around $115 a barrel yesterday, more than 70 per cent higher than this time last year.
RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said, “The oil price is rising due to increased demand for fuel across the world as China eases its Covid restrictions and America and Europe go into the peak summer driving season.
“We strongly urge the Government to take drastic action to help soften the impact for drivers from these never-before-seen pump prices.”
Russia is one of the world’s largest crude oil exporters. Recent sanctions have seen a US ban on all imports with the UK and EU set to follow this example by the end of year.
Whilst the UK imports just 6 per cent of its oil from Russia, it is still affected by the global price rise.
Prices are unlikely to come down until alternative oil producers increase supplies to compensate for lost Russian output.
This week’s lowest priced diesel was to be found in Limavady at £1.86 a litre, according to ConsumerCouncil.org
A spokesperson for the Consumer Council said: “Unfortunately the Consumer Council has heard reports of diesel prices in Northern Ireland passing the £2 mark, which is clearly worrying news for drivers. However, the latest data from our Fuel Price Checker yesterday, June 16, shows the average petrol price at 185.6 p/litre and the average diesel price at 190.4 p/litre.
"It also shows differences of 10p/litre or more between retailers, indicating the importance of shopping around for the best price.
"The Consumer Council’s free Fuel Price Checker, which is updated weekly, helps consumers in Northern Ireland shop around when buying petrol and diesel. It allows consumers to check the highest, lowest, and average prices in their area to ensure they are getting the best value when topping up their tanks. It is a tool the AA believes should be rolled out across the UK."
The website has shared several tips to keep consumption down including keeping tyres inflated, braking less and only driving with a half tank as fuel is heavy.