Price of fuel at the pump in NI is now two-thirds higher than summer 2020 – and haulage boss pessimistic it’ll change any time soon

Fresh figures from the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland show that prices at the pump continue heading skywards.

By Adam Kula
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 2:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th June 2022, 6:38 pm

The details make for grim reading for motorists, and one logistics expert – Mark Cosgrove – has told the News Letter that such stratospheric prices may be a thing consumers will simply have to get used to for the next couple of years.

The graph here shows that despite a brief bit of respite in mid-spring, when the prices of petrol and diesel fell, they have resumed their upward trajectory.

Here’s a breakdown of where NI stands right now (a fuller town-by-town price comparison is available here).

> Average cost of a litre of petrol in NI: 180.1p

> Average cost of a litre of diesel in NI: 183.8p

> Looking at the figures as far back as the Consumer Council’s data allows shows that at the start of July 2020, the average cost of petrol in Northern Ireland was 107.9ppl, and the average cost of diesel 111.4ppl.

> This means that since July 2020 and now, the average price per litre of petrol in Northern Ireland has increased roughly 67%.

> And the same comparison for diesel reveals an increase of about 65%.

Mark Cosgrove was the boss of Newtownabbey haulage firm Redhead for decades, until stepping aside in spring.

He is also a UUP councillor in the town, and held the post of party economics spokesman under the leaderships of Reg Empey and Steve Aiken.

He said that hauliers generally pass on the rising cost of fuel to their customers in the form of a surcharge, so as not to be left out of pocket.

This then gets passed further along the chain until “the ultimate cost in the end is bourne by the consumer”.

The major driving force is the war in eastern Europe; before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK last year relied on Russia for 10% of its energy imports – but that is only part of the picture.

Mr Cosgrove pointed out that in Germany the reliance on now-disrupted Russian fuel supplies was many times greater, upping the price of German-made imports accordingly.

To make matters worse, NI hauliers must also deal with increased costs arising from the Protocol, meaning the true rate of inflation in Northern Ireland will be higher than the general UK figure of 9% given by the Bank of England.

And he sees little sign of light at the end of the tunnel as far as fuel costs go; asked if the current prices will be with us for some time, Mr Cosgrove said: “I think the honest answer is until the macro-geopolitical circumstances change, it won’t change,” he said.

“Nobody knows when the price of oil is going to come down. I think in the short term it could well stay [as it is now].”

He added that by “short term”, he means five to 10 years.

In terms of the priciest individual regions in Northern Ireland, the latest figures (accurate of Thursday) show:

> The most expensive petrol sample was found in Belfast, at 193.9ppl

> The most expensive diesel sample was also in Belfast, at 194.9ppl

> The least expensive petrol sample was in Limavady, at 165.9ppl

> And the least expensive diesel sample was also in Limavady, 175.9ppl.

See the current price where you are >here<