Car fuel Scheme
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
MOTORISTS in Newry and Mourne could save 5p per litre of diesel and petrol if a proposal to introduce a fuel rebate scheme here gets the green light, writes Brian Hyland.
Car owners in the district are currently paying more for their fuel than most regions in the UK with a litre of diesel costing 145.9p on average and petrol coming in at around 138.9p.
Earlier this month HM Treasury wrote to the European Commission asking to extend a Rural Fuel Rebate Scheme currently in place in the Scottish Highlands to rural areas in the north, including Newry and Mourne.
FED-UP motorists in Newry and Mourne could save up to 5p per litre of diesel or petrol if a proposed government scheme is introduced to Northern Ireland.
Earlier this month HM Treasury announced it was writing to the European Commission looking to extend the Rural Fuel Rebate Scheme that is currently in place in Scottish Highland areas to 'rural' parts of the north - including Newry and Mourne.
According to the most recent survey by the Consumer Council NI, car owners in the district are paying more for fuel prices than anywhere else in the UK with the average cost of a litre of diesel around 142.9p and the average cost of a litre of petrol costing around a whooping 145.9p.
Should the EU give the green light to roll out the scheme to parts of Northern Ireland, motorists here could save up to 5p per litre.
Scott Kennerley, Head of Policy (Transport) at the Consumer Council, told the Democrat: "In remote areas of Scotland there is a fuel duty discount scheme operating and now the Treasury have announced their intention to write to the EU to seek authorisation to roll out that scheme across certain rural areas in the UK, including 17 district council areas in Northern Ireland.
“The current scheme in operation in parts of Scotland is 5p per litre discount. If they rolled out the same scheme here then motorists could also be looking at a potential discount of 5p per litre."
Any form of discount on fuel prices would come as a big relief to hard-pressed motorists in Newry and Mourne who have been constantly paying more for diesel and petrol than any other part of the UK.
Mr Kennerley said the reason prices are usually higher in the Newry and Mourne area is down to the small number of supermarket forecourts in the area, which he says drive prices down.
He added: "Certainly over the last four weeks some of the examples prices we have seen in Newry are the highest in Northern Ireland.
“I couldn't say why Newry is dearer, but I can say areas with large rural populations and large rural areas tend to find higher fuel prices due to the lower level of supermarket forecourts.
“Supermarkets account for seven per cent of petrol stations in Northern Ireland compared to about 15 per cent in the rest of the UK.
“Supermarkets buy wholesale fuels in much larger quantities and are therefore able to sell it at lower prices than rival retailers.
“That drives the competitive pricing within the area, so if you live in a rural area with less supermarket forecourts driving prices the chances are you are going to be paying higher prices."
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