The European and Global oil markets are currently volatile, due to the conflict in Ukraine exacerbating pre-existing market shortages, primarily of diesel. This has caused a spike in the price of crude and in the price of refined products on the retail market.
On 15 March 2022, Minister Ryan and I proposed to Government an emergency support measure – the Licensed Haulage Emergency Support Scheme. The Scheme will provide support of €100 per week for eight weeks for each eligible heavy goods vehicle (HGV) authorised on the licence of a road haulage operator as of 11 March 2022. I can confirm that the scheme is available only to operators holding a road haulage operator licence.
In deciding on a targeted scheme, the Government considered that the licensed haulage sector is a specific case for several reasons, primarily that the sector is of national strategic importance as a critical enabler of a functioning supply chain, bringing essential supplies into and around the State, supporting key infrastructure and enabling the maintenance of economic and social activity. While this is true for some own account operators also, in addition fuel represents a greater overall proportion of overhead costs for licensed hauliers than would be the case for other businesses who self-provide transport as part of their wider business.
In addition to the Emergency Scheme however, the Government has provided for an excise duty reduction on mineral oil taxes with effect from 10 March. This saw a 20 cent reduction in the excise rate for petrol and a 15 cent reduction on auto diesel, proposed to last until 31 August 2022. On 11 April the Government extended the period of the reduced excise rates out to Budget Day. This measure is a benefit to all citizens and business to mitigate the impact of recent fuel price increases.
In general, however, it should be noted that the causes of these fuel price pressures are not within the control of Government and are being directly influenced by external factors, including the Ukraine crisis. Unfortunately, we must accept that it will not be possible to fully insulate citizens and businesses from the impact of these fuel price increases.
In addition, we must continue the progress we have made to date on the implementation of climate policies which are critical to ensuring we reduce emissions and mitigate climate change.
In light of these last two factors, it is important that haulage and other businesses now engage with their customers on the need for the prices for their products and services to reflect the increasing costs.
The Government has limited resources but through the Excise measures, as well as the Licensed Haulage Emergency Support Scheme, it has responded to help to ease the impact of these price increases.