Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Jane Corscadden

Expert explains how to keep petrol and diesel costs down as prices rise in Northern Ireland

An expert has explained the reasons why petrol and diesel prices continue to increase across Northern Ireland, and ways drivers can save fuel costs.

The effects of rising energy prices have been felt by homes across the region over the past few months, and now prices are increasing dramatically as a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Richard Williams, Head of Transport Policy at the Consumer Council, told Belfast Live some of the reasons why prices have surpassed the previous highest level set in April 2012, and what drivers can do to make a tank last longer.

Read more: 500L of home heating oil spirals to £435 from £320 in just one week

"This is all tied to the price of international crude oil. We've seen that increasing over the past year, the latest figure is $119 today for a barrel, when only yesterday it was $112.93, and a year ago it was $64," he said.

"That increase was taking place steadily but as the world economies were coming out of Covid, demand was increasing. But with the situation in Ukraine over the last week and the huge uncertainty, that's caused uncertainty on the international markets about the supply chains remaining intact. All of this has meant prices have really shot up in crude oil.

"It probably hasn't quite worked its way through to the pumps yet even though we're seeing these increases. The analytics are suggesting this is not going away quickly and it's probably not peaked yet."

The Consumer Council's weekly fuel checker tool surveys 86 forecourts around Northern Ireland to find out the average costs of petrol and diesel.

For unleaded petrol this week, the current average is 146.92p per litre, which is up from 145.55p per litre on February 24. Across the country, the difference between the highest and lowest price of unleaded equals out to 12.9p per litre.

"On a 55 litre fill, which is generally the full tank, you could save around £7.10 if you could see the difference between the two," Richard added.

And there are some parts of Northern Ireland showing higher costs of petrol and diesel than others.

Richard said: "The area with the biggest differential in diesel and unleaded was in the Ballyclare area. In Ballyclare, we're seeing the lowest unleaded price is 144.7p, while the highest was 152.9p.

"On diesel, the highest in Ballyclare is 154.9p and the lowest is 146.7p, so the difference between both diesel and unleaded between the highest and lowest is 8.2p in that area. So if you're in Ballyclare, it's certainly worth looking around as on a 55 litre fill that's savings of £4.50 which in the current climate is definitely worth saving."

The lowest price for petrol can currently be found in the Craigavon area, where unleaded is an average of 142p per litre.

When it comes to trying to save costs on filling up at the petrol station, Richard has highlighted some steps drivers can take to save a few pounds.

He said: "The advice we would give is to shop around as there are some savings to be made even though they're not huge.

"One thing we are suggesting is to reduce your journeys if you're able to, but obviously a lot of people can't. We're encouraging people to use public transport if possible. The Infrastructure Minister has frozen fares on public transport.

"The evidence we have going back over a number of years is it's cheaper to commute by bus than it is by car if you factor in all the running costs of the car. Our evidence is based on stats we've gathered in relation to travelling from parts of Northern Ireland into Belfast, which includes the cost of parking in Belfast.

"For example, the monthly commute by car from Antrim to Belfast would cost £390, which includes all the costs including MOT, tax, servicing, car parking. On the bus, it would cost you £132.

"It's also important important to maintain your car as making sure your tires are properly inflated and making sure your car isn't cluttered up with waste can make it more efficient."

Hints to save fuel from the Consumer Council:

  • Keep your tyres inflated - reduce the drag
  • Declutter your car - Less weight means less fuel
  • Don’t fill your car up – fuel is heavy
  • Brake and accelerate less – they burn fuel
  • Avoid stopping and starting where possible – roll up slowly

The Consumer Council's fuel price checker can be found by clicking here and the Transport Knowledge Hub can be found here.

Read more: NI sending West's largest single donation of pet food to Ukraine

Read more: NI Minister confirms who is eligible for £200 Energy Payment

To get the latest breaking news straight to your inbox, sign up to our free newsletter.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.