Fuel prices have increased by more than seven per cent since the beginning of the year.
By April 12, the cost of diesel had gone up 7.6 per cent, while petrol had soared 8.4 per cent.
The average price that motorists in Portugal are forking out for each litre of lead-free petrol 95 is 1.402 euros – the sixth highest price in the European Union and above the average paid in Spain, 1.185 euros.
The same has happened with diesel: at the Portuguese pumps the cost of a litre stands at 1.166 euros whereas in Spain the same litre sets motorists there back 1.087 euros.
The Minister for the Economy, José Vieira da Silva, admitted last week that fuel prices were “very high”.
“In some cases it is difficult to see why they are so high” he added.
But the President of the Portuguese Association of Fuel Retailers, Associação de Revendedores de Combustíveis (Anarec), said that the Government “should know why fuel prices in Portugal are so high”.
Virgílio Constantino said that it was as a direct result of the Government slapping high fuel duties on both diesel and petrol.
He said that it was also strange why some companies lowered fuel prices at the weekends but didn’t do so on week days.
The Portuguese government’s tax on petroleum products, together with Value Added Tax, means that consumers pay twice the price for petrol per litre than the actual retail cost.
António Comprido, the Secretary-General of Apetro, Portuguese Association of Petrol Companies, said taxes put 60 per cent on the cost of a litre of petrol and 50 per cent on the price of diesel.
He also said that even without the taxes the cost of fuel in Portugal was still higher than the EU average because of transport competitiveness costs.
“We are a very small market which is out on a limb in Europe compared to other countries and there’s nothing we can do about that,” he said.