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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Fuel Excise Clearances

May 2020

Million litres
PeriodAutodieselUnleaded PetrolMarked Gas OilKerosene
January 20202987988124
February 20202957782137
March 202028168112186
April 202013925101143
May 202019847103108
May/April 2020 % Change 42.0%85.5%1.4%-24.1%

Autodiesel clearances up 42% and unleaded petrol up 86% in May

Figure 1 Fuel Excise Clearances for May 2018-2020
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The volume of excise clearances of autodiesel was 42% higher in May 2020 compared with April 2020 but was 29% lower than in March 2020 (see Table 1A and headline table).

There was an increase in excise clearances of unleaded petrol of 86% in May 2020 compared with April 2020 (see Figure 1).

Clearances of kerosene (mainly used as a heating fuel) in May 2020 were 24% lower than in April 2020 reflecting the seasonal consumption of heating fuels (see headline table). The figure for kerosene of 108 million litres was the highest excise clearance figure for the month of May in the 2000-2020 series (see Table 1D). Excise clearances of marked gas oil were 1.4% higher in May 2020 compared with April 2020. Marked gas oil is used for off-road purposes such as agriculture and heating of larger buildings. Tables 3C and 3D show that there were large decreases for March to May 2020 in the Wholesale Price Index for gas oil and fuel oil which may have resulted in some advance purchases of heating oils.

The volume of autodiesel and unleaded petrol clearances were both at around two billion litres in 2000 (see Table 2). Since then there has been almost a doubling of the quantity of autodiesel excise clearances and a halving of unleaded petrol excise clearances. Unleaded petrol clearances increased to 2.4 billion litres in 2007 before dropping continuously since then, largely due to changes in the vehicle taxation system which resulted in a substantial switch to diesel cars. In 2019, clearances of unleaded petrol were 1.0 billion litres. Figure 3 shows the annual time series trend for the four fuels for 2000 to 2019.

Annual clearances of marked gas oil were 1.6 billion litres in 2000. This amount decreased to 1.0 billion litres in 2014 and was 1.1 billion litres in 2019. Clearances of kerosene were 0.8 billion litres in 2000. This amount increased to 1.3 billion litres in 2010 before falling to 0.9 billion in 2012. It has increased by 9.5% since then to 1.1 billion litres in 2019.

Table 4 and Figure 5 show trends in the monthly mean temperature at Dublin Airport. The graph shows that there were two cold spells in January 2010, when the average temperature for the month was 1.7 degrees centigrade, and in December 2010 when the mean temperature was -0.1 degrees. Table 1D indicates the impact of these cold spells on clearances of kerosene with February 2010 showing the highest February figure in the 2000-2020 series. November and December 2010 were also the highest monthly figures for those months in the 2000-2019 series.

The data used in this statistical release mainly relate to Revenue Commissioners monthly excise clearance volumes. The use of transport fuels such as autodiesel and unleaded petrol are less seasonal than the use of home heating fuels. Price changes, exceptionally cold weather, and storage capacity (home heating oil tanks) can all combine to create marked variations in the monthly clearances. Levels of activity in the economy and changes in the vehicle fleet composition can affect the volume of clearances of road fuels.