Staff Reporter

FUEL prices have continued to fall over the past week, affected by the instability of the international markets and the consequent fall in the price of crude oil, but consumers are still having to tighten their belts.

However, in spite of this decrease, to fill a car's tank with petrol or diesel costs 8.41 and 9 euros more respectively than a year ago, according to figures from the European Union's Oil Bulletin and high fuel prices are continuing to bump up the cost of living.

The average price of a litre of 95 octane unleaded petrol and the price of diesel are still above one euro, their prices being 1.094 and 1.049 respectively.

In comparison with the end of January 2007, when the price of petrol was 94.16 centimos, the current prices mean that the price has risen by 16.2 percent.

In the case of diesel, the price of a litre at the end of January 2006 was 88.45 centimos, some 18.66 percent less that the 1.049 euros which it is now. So, to fill the average car tank (55 litres) with unleaded petrol (95 octane) now costs 66.17 euros, 8.41 euros more than a year ago.

In the case of diesel, the difference is 9 euros as in January 2007 it cost 48.62 euros to fill an average tank.
However, the increase in the price of petrol and diesel during the last year has slowed down during the last few weeks.
A litre of petrol has come down by scarcely 0.9 percent from the 1.095 euros it was at the end of last year.
The price of diesel has decreased by 1.4 percent during the last few months.
Nevertheless, the decrease in the prices was less than that experienced last week, when stock exchanges throughout the world went through a very critical day.

With all this going on, the price of fuel in Spain continues to be less than in the rest of the European Union. A litre of unleaded petrol costs an average of 1.298 euros in the countries which use the euro, and 1.187 euros for diesel.