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Petrol prices up 20pc in just a year

PETROL prices are now almost nearly 20pc higher than they were a year ago.

And the situation is not much better for diesel car drivers who have seen an almost 15pc increase in fuel costs.

The Automobile Associations's director of policy, Conor Faughnan, said: "Higher fuel prices are eating into profit margins for businesses as well as the pockets of consumers."

The strength of the euro and oil prices, currently $75.39 a barrel, "continue to drive price fluctuations at our pumps", the AA said. Mr Faughnan added: "Prices will vary by as much as 8 to 10 cents per litre between the most expensive garages and the cheapest ones. The AA reiterates its advice to motorists to shop around for fuel.

"Saving even 5 cents per litre will mean (on average) keeping an extra €7.50 in your pocket every month."

Calculations carried out by the AA show there is some good news.

The cost of petrol decreased marginally in August, from 133.3 cents per litre to 132.4 cents on average.

This was the lowest price since April of this year. But the bigger picture reveals petrol is up 18.5pc on the same time last year.

Diesel is down 1.7 cents on average this month to 123.2 cents, again the lowest since April.

Enormous

However, it still represents a 13.5pc price increase on this time last year.

"Whilst a decrease in prices is welcome, prices remain high. The annual rate of inflation on fuel has been enormous," Mr Faughnan said.

The AA has provided several fuel saving tips, including advising motorists to buy fuel in units of litres, not euro, as this "makes it obvious where you get the best value".

It also advises car users to drive "smoothly and slowly" as "a harsh driving style burns more fuel". And to "load luggage on your roof rack as low as possible and wrap the luggage tightly in plastic sheeting or consider using a roof box to reduce the effect on fuel economy. It also says air conditioners "can add up to 10pc to fuel usage".

hnews@herald.ie