Petrol and diesel costs have remained largely unchanged month-on-month despite significant increases in crude oil costs.
A litre of petrol costs on average 138.2c across Ireland, a drop of 0.1c from December 2017 prices, according to the latest monthly AA Fuel Prices survey.
Diesel owners spend 127.3c per litre on average, up slightly from a price of 127.1c last month.
“While it’s certainly welcome that prices haven’t increased significantly in the past month, it has to be noted that both petrol and diesel ended 2017 at their highest level since August 2015, placing further strain on commuters across the country,” said Conor Faughnan, AA director of consumer affairs.
“At best we can celebrate that the situation didn’t get any worse, but unfortunately for motorists, it hasn’t gotten any better either.
“It’s impossible to know what the long-term future will hold for petrol prices, but the continued rise of the cost of a barrel of crude oil is a worrying sign for what the future may hold for pump prices.”
The AA estimates an average motorist will use 150 litres of fuel per month.
At current prices that motorist will pay €207.30 per month for petrol, including €129.91 in tax. A motorist driving a diesel-powered vehicle will spend €190.95 per month on fuel, including €110.54 in tax.
“Thankfully the strength of the Euro against the Dollar has helped ease some of the effect rising crude oil prices have on the cost of petrol and diesel, but we can’t count on this forever,” said Faughnan.
“In the longer-term, we will have to look closer to home for a solution to rising commuter costs and particularly at the excessive taxes we place on both fuels.
“While motoring’s future is going to be electric, until we get to that point we have to ensure people can afford to commute to work, particularly in more rural areas where public transport options may not exist.”
A barrel of crude oil currently costs just under $70, an increase of almost $6 per barrel since mid-December.