Household budgets take more strain as oil tank rises €135 in past two weeks

Heating oil prices have risen sharply in the last two weeks and have put enormous pressure on household budgets.

Rice has risen by around 135 euros for a 1,000 liter filling in the last 14 days alone.

And oil buyers now pay almost 700 euros more for 1,000 liters than last year at this time.

It comes as more electricity and gas price hikes are expected ahead of the weekend.

The bad news for consumers keeps coming as oil prices retreat above $100 (€100) a barrel, which is expected to push petrol and diesel prices above €2 a litre.

According to Pumps.ie, some workshops already charge 2 euros.

Gas futures are down slightly this week from record highs but are still up 33 percent this week from last Monday morning.

The gas wholesale prices determine the electricity and gas prices in this country, more than half of our electricity is generated from gas.

Economist at Davy Stockbrokers, Conall Mac Coille, said more energy price hikes were on the horizon.

“The 35 per cent and 39 per cent price hikes announced over the weekend by Irish energy company SSE Airtricity are likely just the beginning of similar moves across the sector as the rise in wholesale prices is passed on to households.”

He said last week’s SSE Airtricity hikes are likely to be the first in a new string of price hikes from the utility sector that are likely to push inflation in that country into double digits for the rest of the year.

Prices have skyrocketed at a time when many of the 1.5 million oil-fired homes are receiving new supplies.

According to Oilprices.ie, a 1,000-litre fill of kerosene now costs an average of €1,371, up €135 over the last two weeks. A year ago, the same amount of heating oil cost 682 euros.

That means the cost of a tank in 60 percent of rural homes that use oil for heating has skyrocketed by €688 over the past year.

Kevin McPartlan of Fuels for Ireland, whose members import oil, defended the price hikes and denied there had been any price gouging.

And this despite the fact that last week it was said that the country had good kerosene reserves.

He said importers and dealers had to take into account the ongoing price hikes, although they bought some stocks at lower prices.

This should generate funds for new shares that have been sold at a higher price. “The margins are extremely tight. It’s definitely not gouging,” he said.

Wholesale prices for kerosene (heating oil) rose by more than 10 cents a liter in international markets in the two weeks to last Friday.

Mr McPartlan said people who use kerosene to heat their homes are the only ones not getting financial help from the government as there is no excise duty cut on home heating oil.

And the electricity and gas prices are facing a new round of increases.

Electricity costs have already increased by €1,000 per year for a large number of customers, as have gas prices.

More increases are in the pipeline as many major suppliers are expected to announce new increases in the coming days.

In the last year and a half there have been more than 50 separate energy price announcements.

Crude oil prices rose yesterday as expectations that Opec would cut production if necessary to prop up prices, along with the conflict in Libya and rising demand amid rising natural gas prices in Europe, contributed to the bleak outlook for US growth to balance. Brent crude futures rose 71 cents yesterday to $101.70 a barrel, extending last week’s 4.4 percent gain.

https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/household-budgets-under-more-strain-as-tank-of-oil-goes-up-135-in-the-last-fortnight-41945946.html Household budgets take more strain as oil tank rises €135 in past two weeks

Fry Electronics Team

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