Soaring fuel prices - Here is the average cost of a litre of red diesel in NI today

The “astronomical” rise in fuel prices “demands urgent government action” a Northern Ireland MLA has said.

Soaring fuel prices have been hitting the headlines in recent weeks, with motorists warned they could be paying up to £2 per litre at the pump in the coming weeks.

Prices reached terrifying heights following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with home heating oil doubling in price over the last two weeks.

Agricultural vehicles are also costing more to run, with the price of red diesel rising rapidly.

And, the construction industry will no longer be permitted to use the rebated fuel when changes to red diesel come into force on 1 April.

Today, the average price of red diesel in Northern Ireland is 130.43 pence per litre (excluding VAT), according to website www.boilerjuice.com.

Boiler Juice, which was set up in 2004, provides instant online quotations from participating suppliers, ranging from small family-owned independent businesses, to the larger regional and national brands.

According to the website, the cost of a litre of red diesel a week ago was 78.51 pence per litre – an increase of 51.92 pence per litre in the last seven days.

In March 2021, the average price was around 45.52 pence per litre.

TUV leader, Jim Allister, has said the government must act on fuel prices.

“The crippling and astronomical rise in fuel prices demands urgent government action,” the North Antrim MLA commented.

“The burden on families and our economy is becoming unbearable.

“Whereas the excise duty on fuel is fixed, irrespective of the pump price, the higher the price goes the more VAT the government collects, because it is 20 per cent on the end price.

“While VAT on some energy commodities, home fuel oil and electric, is capped at five per cent, the same could and should be done on fuel prices.

“In that way, HMG could have an immediate and positive impact on runaway fuel prices.”

He continued: “In Northern Ireland, we have the added restriction of the Protocol keeping us under the EU’s VAT regime (Art 8), and, thereby there is a prohibition on reducing vat below the EU’s minimum diktat of five per cent.

“Hence, the absurdity that if the Chancellor decided to remove vat from fuel and electricity, we could not benefit because it is the EU’s writ, not HMG’s writ that rules our vat.

“Yet another reason why the iniquitous Protocol must go,” Mr Allister ended.