The cost of filling a family car with petrol has doubled and hit a record high of almost €120.
Prices for a litre of petrol have gone over 220 cent in certain petrol stations all around the country for the first time ever this week.
The prices of diesel, which used to be far cheaper than petrol, is not far behind either, with prices as high as 211c being reported on forecourts nationwide.
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According to AA Ireland a litre of petrol cost 150c this time last year, with diesel at 140c – it was only 120c for petrol a few months before that.
And the terrible news for motorists comes as the latest figures show the Exchequer collected a new high of over €300million in taxes on petrol and diesel in April.
The government collects a huge portion of what you pay in the pumps.
According to a breakdown from the industry group Fuels for Ireland, if a litre of petrol costs 220c, the government is getting 41%, or 91c from every litre.
The soaring prices have led Labour to call for the government to invoke an unused clause in the Consumer Protection Act to put a freeze on prices.
Labour’s finance spokesman Ged Nash said that the time has come for the government to intervene and help out ordinary workers.
He said: “Labour wants the government to go further on VAT, much of the record VAT haul must be put back into people’s pockets.”
One of our Mirror reporters hit the road in her Toyota Auris yesterday and found that a tank refill that cost her around €60 last year now costs €120.
Mr Nash added: “The pressure being applied to the backs of working people is rapidly becoming unsustainable.
“The Government must get real and consider a cap on the price of petrol and diesel at the pumps through a maximum prices order.
“This is possible under Sections 61 to 63 of the Consumer Protection Act (2007) and is permissible when there is a serious disturbance to our economy.
“There is war in Europe.
“Exceptional times demand exceptional measures to protect our economy and living standards.
“This measure among others is required to give working people and businesses some much needed relief.
“The Labour Party is firmly on the record as saying that a mini-budget for 2022 was needed to give people certainty and to help protect living standards.
“These calls were ignored and now we are in a situation where working people are being left swinging in the wind.
“The recent reductions introduced on petrol and diesel prices are of themselves inadequate.
“It is a case of the government robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“We need to go further and faster and immediately meaningfully slash VAT on petrol and fuel to support workers and businesses.”
The shocking sight of price boards showing petrol and diesel continuing to climb to new heights has led many people to blame the petrol station owners.
But Kevin McPartlan, CEO of Fuels for Ireland, told the Irish Mirror that it is the government and the big oil companies that are making the extra money off any rising prices.
He said: “It is the perfect storm.”
He then cited a number of factors that have combined to land us in the state we are in.
- A lot of oil refineries had either locked down or slowed down during Covid
- Demand came back more quickly than predicted, supply was down, prices increased
- Then came the Ukraine invasion, oil markets hate geopolitical uncertainty –
- One third of Europe’s oil and gas coming from Russia –
- Ireland moved away from Russian oil earlier, so we paid more
- More EU sanctions have been confirmed and are in the pipeline
- A strong dollar against the euro, wholesale prices are in dollars, retail are in euro
Mr McPartlan added: “You can be damn sure that the people who are not doing well out of this are not the retailers.
“For the vast, vast bulk of fuel retailers, whether the petrol pump price is €1.50, or it’s €2, makes no difference to them, they don’t make any more on it, but the government do.
“The only people who are making more money, perhaps than oil traders, are the government.”
A petrol station owner the Mirror chatted to added: “typically, people don’t use a percentage mark-up on fuel.
“They say whatever we buy wholesale for, we’ll add two cents, or perhaps 2.5 cents, or perhaps 1.5 per litre.”
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