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Motorists counting the cost as petrol prices rise

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Petrol prices have been rising

Petrol prices have been rising

Petrol prices have been rising

Motorists are being forced to pay more at the pumps following significant increases in fuel prices due in part to continuing tensions in the Middle East, according to AA Ireland.

Petrol now costs an average of 144.5c a litre - an increase of just under 3c since December - while diesel prices, currently averaging 135.9c a litre, went up by 4.5c, according to the AA's latest monthly survey.

AA director of consumer affairs Conor Faughnan attributed the increase in part to volatility in crude oil prices.

While the cost of a barrel of crude oil is $64.20 (€57.90), down slightly from $65-$66 last month, over the past few weeks prices have risen as high as $68.91 a barrel in response to geopolitical events, he said.

Volatile

"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," Mr Faughnan said.

"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."

Mr Faughnan advised consumers to compare prices at forecourts to get the best deal.

Meanwhile, the AA is calling on the election candidates to "ramp up investment in public transport and cycling infrastructure, particularly in rural areas".

Mr Faughnan said many commuters have been left "overly reliant on their private car, meaning that even when fuel prices increase they have no option but to pay more and continue travelling by car".