The average price of the Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol) increased by 163.65 percent year-on-year, hitting N696.79 per litre in March 2024 while the price of a litre of the Automotive Gas Oil (AGO/Diesel) skyrocketed by 59.51 percent year-on-year, reaching an average of N1341.16 per litre in the same month, NBS has revealed.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this increase in petrol marked a significant surge compared to the value recorded in March 2023, which stood at N264.29. This as the average price of petrol rose by 2.56 percent from February 2024, when it was at N679.3 per litre.

Similarly, the price of diesel stood at about N840.81 per litre last year, On a month-on-month basis, an increase of 6.69 percent was recorded from N1257.06 in February 2024 to an average of N1341.16 in March 2024.

Among the states, Taraba State recorded the highest average retail price for petrol, which rose to N761.92. Following closely behind are Yobe and Adamawa states, with average prices of N749.09 and N735.00, respectively. These figures reflect the challenges facing consumers in these regions due to the escalating costs of petrol.

Meanwhile, Lagos, Oyo, and Ogun states recorded the lowest average retail prices for petrol, at N630.75, N645.88, and N651.25, respectively. Residents in these states may find some relief at the pump compared to their counterparts in other regions.

Examining the zonal profile, the North East zone stood out with the highest average retail price of N732.37 per litre for petrol. This region’s consumers are grappling with the burden of increased costs, making it a significant concern for residents. Conversely, the South West zone enjoyed the lowest average price of N654.24, offering some respite to motorists in that area.

On the other hand, Edo State recorded the highest average price for diesel at N1566.67 per litre, followed closely by Jigawa and Cross River states with average prices of N1533.33 and N1532.71 per litre respectively.

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The states with the lowest average prices are Plateau, Niger and Adamawa states with a litre at N1067.25, N1140.00 and N1175.00 respectively.

And if we look at the zones, the South-South zone takes the crown for having the highest average price of diesel, at N1419.35 per litre, while the North Central zone had the lowest average price at N1230.98 per litre.

This recent surge has left Nigerians grappling with the financial burden of higher transportation costs. With petrol prices on the rise, commuters are forced to dig deeper into their pockets to fuel their vehicles.

Effectively, this increases transportation expenses and cause a ripple effect on the prices of goods and services, as businesses pass on the additional costs to consumers. The impact of rising diesel prices is also being felt across various sectors of the economy, particularly the manufacturing sector.

Diesel is a crucial fuel for industries, power generation, and transportation of goods. The sharp increase in diesel prices directly affects production costs, leading to potential price hikes for essential commodities and services.

The Nigerian government faces the daunting task of finding sustainable solutions to ease the burden on consumers. Efforts to diversify the economy and reduce dependency on imported fuel are crucial in stabilising prices and ensuring affordable access to fuel. Investments in renewable energy sources and improved refining capacity can help mitigate the impact of volatile global oil prices on the Nigerian market.