Consumers in Derry are bracing themselves for another steep hike in the price of home heating oil as well as petrol and diesel for their cars.
Unrest in Libya is being blamed for the rocketing cost of crude oil, which last week topped $120 a barrel.
Retailers have warned that customers can expect to pay another 5p per litre of petrol by the end of this week – with the average price already topping £1.30 a litre.
Derry oil supplier Eugene Hutcheon of Hutcheon Fuels says it is time the Government stepped in to stem the rising price of oil, instead of blaming increases on events overseas.
“People complain that it is the oil companies that are making extra profit when the price of oil goes up, but that simply isn’t the case,” he said.
“We make our money from every delivery we make and actually we are not making as much now as when the price really started to go up. The Government is making something like 48% of the cost of oil.
“The cold snap in December was when the price really started to go up. At the end of November we were selling 500 litres for £230 and now that has gone up to £279.
“What annoys me is that they blame the rise on what is going on in Libya when it contributes something like two percent of European oil – but prices go up by 15 to 18 percent.”
Sinn Fein councillor Patricia Logue says it is a deeply worrying sign that the price for 900 litres of home heating oil had passed through the £500 barrier.
“Continuing price rises in the cost of home heating oil will be felt worst by people on low incomes and on fixed incomes, particularly people on pensions and benefits,” she said.