The cost of petrol and diesel in Ireland are at the highest level since March of last year when prices fell as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the AA.
Prices of both fuels have climbed for the third successive month with the AA's latest fuel price study showing that the average cost of a litre of petrol is 133.8c, up from 129.9c last month, while diesel prices within the past month have increased at a similar rate climbing to a current average price of 124.9c per litre, up from 120.8c last month.
Among the main drivers for the price increase is a noticeable increase in the cost of crude oil beginning in early February which recently resulted in prices returning to pre-pandemic levels.
AA Director of Consumer Affairs, Conor Faughnan, said: “Oil prices have been steadily climbing since the beginning of February on the back of a sense of optimism that the rollout of Covid vaccines could see global demand start to return to pre-pandemic levels in the months ahead.
For motorists this does mean that pump prices have already started to climb and that further increases could be on the way.
"Generally speaking it can take up to two weeks for changes in crude oil prices to be accurately reflected at the pumps, so as long as oil continues to climb we should prepare for fuel prices to do the same.”
Both fuels, however, remain significantly below the per litre cost seen at the start of last year. In January 2020, the AA’s monthly fuel study found that a litre of petrol cost 144.5c per litre on average, with diesel costing 135.9c per litre.
“Covid-19 had a significant impact on the global demand for oil, with oil and pump prices plunging as the virus spread into Europe and a wave of lockdown measures were introduced.
“While prices at the pump still remain approximately 10c per litre below pre-pandemic levels, we have seen that gap close in recent months,” Mr Faughnan said.