Price Hike for Motorists on the Eve of Summer Holidays

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Petrol and diesel on the rise but still less expensive than Ireland

In France (as in Ireland), the end of this week will mark a grand departure of sorts for holidaymakers. For those taking the car, however, it will also coincide with a rise in the cost of fuel.

According to specialist French fuel-price site Carbeo.com, the all-round price hike is significant: €1.601/litre for Unleaded 98 (€1 per centilitre) or 0.6% in one year and €2.6/litre (+1.7%) since last month. For the Unleaded 95, the average price is now €1.553/litre – its highest since September 2013.

Over the last fortnight, the prices of the different fuel types have increased on average by 3.5c per litre. As for diesel, the increase was 3.7c. The average price for diesel thus went from €1.301/l to €1.338/l on Tuesday morning (24th of June). The Unleaded 95-E10 is the fuel grade that had the highest increase of €4.1c/litre. Its average price has gone from €1.509 to €1.55/litre.

The reasons for the current price increases are (you guessed it) partly because of the tensions in the Middle East:

“The current rise in fuel prices reflects the concerns of the market concerning the production and supply coming from Iraq. For now, the majority of the petrol-producing regions of the country – situated in the south – are still in the hands of the central government but the rapid advance of the Islamists gives rise to fears that 11% of the world’s reserves of crude oil will soon fall into their hands,” explains Christopher Dembik, an analyst at Danish investment bank Saxo Bank.

In fact, the market had already partially integrated this catastrophic scenario into fuel prices that are manifest at the petrol pumps. The alarm signal hasn’t yet been set off, however: “There’s no explosion of prices like what we saw for example during the Arab Spring because substitute supplies are in place with Saudi Arabia and the autonomous region of Kurdistan in order to ‘dissolve’ the effect of the Iraqi production,” says Dembik, who concludes by warning that “in the medium term, it’s not beyond the bounds of reason that we will see a more sustained rise in prices if Iraqi production falls to the level of the second Iraq war.”

Crude oil prices have gone from $102/barrel to $107.24/barrel. At the pumps, however, the lowest diesel prices in France (typically available at self-service hypermarket outlets) are currently running at around €1.29/litre – considerably less than the lowest prices in Ireland (about €1.44/litre)

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