‘It’s ridiculous’: Motorists on the increase in excise duty on fuel

Forecourts ‘crazy’ on Wednesday as people filled up before price of a litre of petrol went up by 5 cent

Queues at the Go service station on Kylemore Road, Dublin, on Wednesday as motorists filled up ahead of the rise in excise duty on fuel overnight. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

It will be “just a matter of time” before the rise in excise duty on fuel has an impact on prices across the wider economy, a service station operator has said.

After a “crazy” night on Wednesday, which saw forecourts packed with people queuing to fill up in advance of the first of three duty increases over the coming months, Lavina Creanga, manager of the Go service station on Dublin’s Kylemore Road, was downbeat about wider effects the move will have.

“If you get deliveries, delivery trucks are using petrol, diesel, whatever. They increase their prices on the delivery, so I am forced to increase the price on my goods as well because the invoice increases,” she said. “I’m not making the same profit as before, so my prices have to increase as well.

“We are still good on price right now, but it’s going to increase everything else, I am absolutely convinced of that. It’s just a matter of time.”

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The duty on a litre of petrol climbed by 5 cent and the price of diesel went up by 6 cent overnight as the Government began winding back measures introduced shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year caused fuel prices to rise sharply.

The excise increase sees the average price of a litre of petrol climb to €1.62, according to figures from the AA, while diesel has gone up to an average of €1.53. Two further increases will be introduced later this year, with one coming into effect at the start of September and the last from October.

Regarding the price rise, Alen Crnevic, a handyman, said: “Every increase affects the people, especially who are self-employed, you know who are struggling there every day to get the money for mortgages, for everything else.”

Keeping the duty at the reduced rate would, he said, “probably help out the ordinary people to survive everyday life”.

“It’s still better than before, it was €2 [a litre], now its 30, 40 cent less anyways so, we’ll survive, somehow,” he added.

One motorist buying fuel at Go on Kylemore Road said he found it “irritating” on Wednesday night when he tried to fill his tank before prices went up. He “could not get near the place” because of the queues and “it was the same up the road” when he tried other options.

Liam, a painter and decorator, said there’s “so much money in the country that they don’t know what to do with it”.

“I understand why they done it [increased excise duty] because they took it off and they are putting it back on, but this is not the time. The cost of food is outrageous,” he said. “If it keeps heading like this, it’s heading to catastrophe.

“It’s shocking, the real stories of the real people in this town, you never ever seem to get ahead, every time you seem to get ahead you’re knocked back down again.”

The impact of the duty restoration cumulatively is expected to add more than €200 to the annual cost of fuel for the average Irish motorist and leave the cost of fuel about 40 cent higher per litre than it was in the summer of 2020. Once the full rate of excise is restored, the exchequer will benefit by more than €700 million over the course of 12 months.

One woman who was buying fuel said she was glad the price increase had come around the time of the school summer holidays as she has to travel a long distance twice a day to drop off and pick up her daughter during term time.

Another said: “It’s ridiculous. The fact that the Government is getting so much tax on the fuel and getting everything else, and the likes of the ordinary Joe Soap, they’re basically working to keep their cars on the road. It’s just crazy.”

Ellen O’Donoghue

Ellen O’Donoghue

Ellen O'Donoghue is an Irish Times journalist