What does a full tank of petrol cost now that fuel prices are at an all-time record high?

by Lorraine Williamson
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Petrol reached a new record high in Spain, the price of super 95 petrol averages €1.94 per litre this week, compared to €1.87 for diesel. Furthermore, at almost 3,000 Spanish petrol stations, petrol already costs more than €2 per litre. 

Fuel prices continue to rise steadily, although the rise in diesel prices seems to be levelling off. According to data from the EU Oil Bulletin published on Thursday, the average price of a litre of petrol is already €1.94 this week, a new record in Spain’s history.  

Fourth week in a row 

This is the fourth consecutive week that the price of petrol broke records. The prices mentioned do not take into account the discount of €0.20 promoted by the Spanish government. This discount has been applied since 1 April. Filling up an average 55 litre tank now costs €106.70 (€95.70 with the discount). 

Compared to last week, the price of petrol has increased by 2.2%. And, moreover, since the government support came into force, the increase is 6.7%. So far this year, the price of petrol has increased by 38.3%.  

Diesel prices more stable 

In contrast to petrol prices, diesel prices have moderated again this week. Diesel now costs an average of €1.87 per litre (excluding government subsidies). This compares to €1.89 last week, which represents a decrease of 1.1%. With these figures, filling up an average petrol tank costs €102.85 (€91.85 with discounts).  

After peaking at €1.91 per litre on 9 May, the price of diesel has stabilised at a level similar to that when the discounts took effect. Nevertheless, the price of diesel has risen more than that of petrol this year.  

Prices rise more in Spain than in the rest of Europe  

Since the entry into force of the fuel discounts on 1 April, prices in Spain have increased more than in neighbouring European countries. Since then, petrol prices have decreased by 1.6% in France, increased by 0.1% in Italy, 1.3% in Germany and 3% on average in EU countries. In Spain, petrol is now 6.7% more expensive than on 1 April. 

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Furthermore, in the case of diesel, the differences are even more significant. In Spain, diesel is 1.6% more expensive than when the discounts took effect, while prices fell by 12.5% in France, 7.8% in Germany, 2% in Italy, 11.5% in Portugal and 5.4% in the EU as a whole.  

What is happening with oil?  

In recent months there have been significant developments in the oil markets, the raw material from which petrol is made. Since 1 April, a barrel of Brent crude (the price benchmark in Europe) has cost an average of $111.1, up from $108.2 between that date and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The commodity is now 2.6% cheaper than then.  

Strong dollar 

However, there is another factor that has contributed to higher oil prices: the strengthening of the dollar against the euro. The latest data published by the European Central Bank (ECB) shows that one dollar is currently exchanged for €0.93. On 1 April, the exchange rate was €0.90. This has a direct impact on gasoline prices, as Brent crude is bought and sold in dollars, not euros, in international markets. 

Should the measure remain in place? 

The development of fuel prices after the application of the rebates and the criticism the measure has received – the Bank of Spain pointed out that higher earners benefit from it almost twice as much as lower earners – have cast doubt on whether the measure will be maintained. Petrol now costs €0.12 a litre more than when the discounts took effect, for fuels only three. The discounts are in effect until June 30, but the government must decide whether or not to extend the measure beyond that date. The First Vice President and Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, has been questioned on the issue for weeks. And so far the answer has not changed much.  

‘We are analysing all the measures to see which ones need to be extended beyond 30 June, which ones don’t make sense and which ones need to be adjusted,’ de Calviño said on Tuesday after the Council of Ministers. The body in charge of the analysis is the Spanish National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), which has so far not issued a public report identifying aid fraud.  

Also read: Petrol increases before subsidy

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