Rising fuel and oil prices offer cold comfort this winterAugust 23, 2012 - 7:00am
The spiralling cost of fuel is forcing hauliers right across the county out of business – while householders are bracing themselves for a chilly winter as the cost of domestic heating of rockets to a record high.
And now, after the collapse of the building industry resulted in thousands of job losses across the county, the dramatic increase in the cost of motor fuel in recent weeks is set to lead to further redundancies.
One long established County Galway haulage firm have revealed that since petrol and diesel continued to escalate at an alarming rate over the past couple of years, they have had to reduce their workforce by 30% in that period.
Even home owners are worried about what they are going to do for the winter period as the price of kerosene is tipping the €1 a litre mark. It now costs between €490 and €495 for 500 litres of home heating oil sparking fears of a spate of thefts over the coming months.
Four years ago it €280 for a similar amount of home heating which represents a 77% increase in the cost of home heating oil in the intervening years.
Petrol prices have exceeded the €1.70 mark for the first time ever with diesel retailing at around €1.60. Ten years ago this month the average price for diesel in Galway was 78.8 cent. Even at the beginning of 2009 it was retailing for an average of 94.4 cent.
“It has been the year from hell for fuel prices,” admitted Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs, AA Ireland.
Based on the current average price of petrol of €1.631 per litre, it currently costs a family driving a saloon car with a typical 55 litre tank €87.70 to fill it up. That could rise to €93.50 in the next week or two.
That is a massive additional headache for families already facing the cost of back to school – but it cuts even deeper with hauliers where there are now real fears that the increases will put jobs at risk. Mike Harty of Hearty International Transport based in Milltown described the continuing rise in fuel prices as “a disaster for business”.
“We cannot pass on the increases to our customers because they will go elsewhere. It is a dog eat dog situation that is bound to result in closures,” he said.
See full story in this week's Connacht Tribune.