Fermanagh fuel suppliers see no end to soaring costs

AS THE world watches in horror at the war in Ukraine, here at home households are seeing their bills soar even further as the price of fuel skyrockets and fears grow of shortages on the horizon.
With global oil prices steadily rising even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, since the war began prices for both home heating oil and at the pumps have been spiraling out of control. Local suppliers have also warned of stock shortages.
On Tuesday this week the average price of unleaded petrol reached a record 150p a litre across the UK, with the average price of petrol climbing to 154.72p. In Fermanagh prices had yet to catch up with that average, with pump prices based on the cost of the stock when it was bought, and the local petrol average yesterday was sitting at around 148p a litre.
However, for context, just a matter of days ago the average local petrol price was just over 140p, and at the end of January it was just under 137p.
Home heating oil has also surged in cost, with the price of 500 litres locally varying from £365 to £400, with the price again reflecting the cost paid by the supplier when purchasing their stock.
Eamon Fitzpatrick, from Fitzpatrick’s Fuel and Hardware in Magheraveely, said, “the situation is not good” and was “getting serious.” He urged people to keep topped up due to the uncertainty of the current situation.
“If you were to ask me, I’d say to fill your tank because in fairness, the way things are going, Putin’s not going to give in that handy, and I don’t see things getting better that quickly,” he said.
Explaining that his business sourced its own fuel directly from the ports using their own transport, he said he had heard from other suppliers who had been told “there is no fuel in the depots for them,” and said he was aware of local shortages over the weekend.
“I’d say there is a bit of a shortage,” he said. “The boats, because of last weekend being stormy, hadn’t got in, and now there’s panic buying and everything else.”
With costs jumping day-on-day, Mr Fitzpatrick stressed that local suppliers were not making any profit on the current surging costs. In fact, it is the opposite, with suppliers also being badly hit by the crisis.
“A lot of people think the like of us are gaining on the back of this. It’s actually a disaster for us,” he said, explaining profits were made when oil prices were low.
“Two years ago when oil was at its cheapest, a load of oil was costing me less than £5,000 a load to buy it out of the port. It’s about £23,500 today.”
“You’re nearly afraid every day of how you’re going to keep going,” he added.
Noting that it was coming into a busy time of year for already stretched local farmers, Mr Fitzpatrick said the current situation was “dire” for everyone.
“I simply fear for people out there, an ordinary wage is not good to anyone at the minute,” he said.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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