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Finland sees steep rise in fuel prices in first quarter

Motorists paid more for petrol and diesel, while households had to dig deeper for electricity and heating.

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File photo of a petrol pump. Image: AOP

Fuel prices in Finland rose significantly over the past year, according to new data from the first quarter of 2019. Statistics Finland said on Wednesday that at the end of March the price of petrol was up three percent compared to the same period one year earlier, while the price of diesel oil rose nine percent over the same period.

The staggering price increases were also reflected in light fuel oil, which was affected by tax hikes that took effect at the beginning of this year. In the case of this fuel, the price rise was 10 percent on the previous year. Meanwhile price increases in motor petrol and diesel were not due to tax hikes.

By contrast, the price of coal fell by one percentage point from last year, while natural gas prices went up nine percent over the one-year period. Fuel used for electricity production is not subject to taxation, however it is subject to an excise tax if it is used to produce heating.

Wood chips and milled peat used to produce electricity and heating saw price increases of one and eight percent respectively. In the case of milled peat, the price rise was affected by steeper taxation.

Households fork out more for electricity

In January, residents of single family homes paid two percent more for district heating than they did one year earlier. Meanwhile residents of semi-detached homes and apartments contended with a five-percent price increase for district heating. Consumers using wood pellets for heating their homes also faced a four-percent increase in the price of that commodity.

Nordic electricity exchange system prices were volatile at the beginning of the year. In January, system prices were on average more than 60 percent higher than the previous year, but by March they were six percent lower than the same period in 2018.

The average corresponding price of electricity in Finland in March was 12 percent lower than a year earlier. According to the statistical agency, electricity exchange prices were not yet reflected in the prices paid by household customers. Instead, in March, households paid 10 to 12 percent more for electricity than they did the year before.

Householder electricity prices are based on data published by Finland’s Energy Authority, which publishes supply obligation prices. These prices are typically slow to react to price fluctuations in energy markets.

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