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Ireland’s motorists deserve a better deal

Last update - Thursday, December 11, 2008, 12:51 By Metro Éireann

Amid one of the most unprecedented economic recessions in recent memory, attention has been turned to the ongoing decline in oil prices as a factor in stimulating economic growth. With the current price of crude oil now at $41 a barrel – almost one-third of what it was just two months ago – key sectors of the economy seem to be active again. 

In particular it is to be welcomed that the transport sector, which is one of the cornerstones of any country’s economic activity, has seen some reduction in the cost of fuel necessary for the efficient movement of goods and services – and people – across the country. With the Christmas season well under way, the reduced cost of transportation will surely help members of the public to enjoy the festive season with their loved ones around the country without breaking the bank. 
But while the current reduction in prices for petroleum products is to be welcomed, we believe that they are still not at an affordable level for most of our low-income earners. The Government must first take the blame for the high cost of petrol here. Last October, excise duty was increased on petroleum products in a bid to raise more money to fund the financial crisis, despite the fact that it would have huge implications for the less well-off in our society.
At the same time, some petrol companies have been very slow in passing on the savings made from reduced crude oil prices to their customers at the forecourts. At just over €1 per litre in most petrol stations across the country, the price is absolutely indefensible considering the fact that crude oil’s value has fallen by over two-thirds. Some people must be profiting from this and making things difficult for Ireland’s motorists.
Metro Éireann believes that the Government should work towards reducing the tax charged on petroleum products. And to ensure that consumers receive a fair deal with the ongoing reduction of prices, it must also establish a taskforce to monitor petrol sales across the country to ensure a better deal for Ireland’s motorists.

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