Filling up with petrol is up to 14 euros more expensive than a year ago
Fuel prices increase by almost 22% in just one year
Despite the fact that the price of electricity has been the great protagonist of the summer, fossil fuels have also seen a sharp price rise over the last twelve months, which stands at around 22%. The prices of diesel and gasoline this August are at very high levels and recorded levels that were not achieved since the summer of 2013. And this happens at the gates of one of the weekends with more road mobility of the whole year, when hundreds of thousands of people across the country begin or end their summer holidays - and there is a significant increase in the demand for petrol at gas stations across the country.
To round it all off, this sharp price rise coincides with one of the summers in which a large part of the population is most eager to go out after a year full of local and regional lockdowns and, in addition, the limitations caused by the pandemic of stays abroad increase the number of car journeys in the interior of the country.
If the price of 95 octane petrol (the basic one) during the summer months of 2020 was set at around 1.17 euros a litre, this summer petrol is reaching eight-year highs, with a price of 1.41 euros a litre (even though this is an average and at some petrol stations the price can fluctuate around this figure). In other words, filling up a 60-litre tank of petrol last summer cost 70.2 euros, while this year it costs 84 euros, around 14 euros more than last summer.
The rise in the price of fuel has also been felt in diesel vehicles, since the price of diesel last summer was around 1.06 euros per litre, while this summer it has risen to 1.27 euros per litre of fuel. This means that filling up a tank of diesel a year ago cost around 63.6 euros, while this summer it costs 76.2 euros - an increase of 12.6 euros over last year.
Crude oil doubles in price
Curiously, the sharp increase of more than 20% in the final price paid by the Catalan consumer is not so much due to an increase in global demand - in fact, the demand for oil has not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels - but to the price of crude oil. The benchmark price of Brent crude last summer was $35.78 a barrel, whereas now it has risen to stabilise at between $60 and $70 a barrel at the beginning of the summer, which means that it has almost doubled in the last twelve months. The cause of this price increase is to be found in the agreement to limit production in Arab countries, which increases the price of crude oil.
The situation does not seem to have an immediate end, since OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), the body that controls 40% of the world's crude oil reserves, plans to continue limiting production until the end of 2022. In other words, OPEC plans to continue gradually increasing the daily production of barrels of crude oil until December, coinciding with the expected increase in global demand, and keeping prices high, but still far from the pre-pandemic production levels of crude oil barrels. The oil-producing countries do not want to go through a situation such as that of spring 2020, when the drastic fall in mobility led to an excess of stock in storage that drastically deflated the price of oil.
The other reason that partly explains the rise in fuel prices that affects consumers is to be found in the taxes on hydrocarbons, VAT and the distribution and marketing costs of each operator. According to RACE calculations, for every 100 euros we spend on fuel we pay just over 50 euros in direct and indirect taxes, 36 euros more for the cost of the raw material (i.e. the money earned directly by fuel producers), 12 euros more in transport and logistics costs - including more taxes and contributions to the national energy efficiency fund - while the wholesale fuel operator only ends up getting about two euros of commercial margin.