The average prices for both petrol and diesel have reached another all-time high in Northern Ireland again this week, according to the latest weekly price checker statistics from the consumer council.
Across Northern Ireland Petrol is now retailing for an average of 169.4p per litre, with diesel at 178.0p per litre.
Both prices are well above the previous record set last week.
Richard Williams, head of transport at the Consumer Council, told the News Letter the myriad factors contributing to the extraordinary prices – including the war in Ukraine, the coronavirus pandemic recovery, and currency valuations – show no sign of abating.
“We are still seeing the increases going on,” he said.
“When there was the 5p cut on fuel duty, we initially did see a small drop in prices but they’ve gone up again to what are now an all-time high for both petrol and diesel.”
Asked why prices are still going up, Mr Williams said: “The reasons are the same reasons we’ve all read about over the last few weeks. Initially, with Covid coming to an end we were told that the world’s economies opening up would mean a big demand for oil.
“And what we’ve really seen is that the war in Ukraine has continued to push prices up.
“A particular issue we’ve seen in the last few weeks is an effort to reduce the use of Russian diesel. Russia produces a lot of the diesel that Europe and the UK uses, so trying to wean ourselves off that seems to be having an effect [on prices].
“An additional factor is that sterling has weakened against the dollar and that has an impact on price as well.”
He added: “Unfortunately, these factors are not going away. There’s no immediate sign of an end to it.”
The figures published by the Consumer Council on Thursday morning show, in some cases, a great deal of regional variation within Northern Ireland.
The cheapest petrol offer identified by the fuel price checkers was found in Carrickfergus, where a litre could be had for 158.9p.
Compared with the highest price identified, in Magherafelt at a shocking 177.9p per litre of petrol, the difference was substantial at 19p per litre or around £1 per gallon.
For diesel, the situation was similar but less extreme.
The cheapest diesel identified was in Cookstown at 170.9p, and the highest was also in Magherafelt at 179.9p – a difference of 9p per litre.
Mr Williams, meanwhile, said it is difficult to predict whether prices are likely to continue increasing.
“All we know is the pressures that lead to price increases and they seem to be here with no end in sight,” he said. “Whether they will keep them at this level or continue to push them to go up it is difficult to say.”