Petrol and Diesel are liquid fuel products refined from the naturally occurring liquid material known as Crude Oil, so prices of said fuel products are dictated by the price of Crude Oil.
Icelandic news media cover from time to time the development of fuel price in Iceland and refer loosely to development of oil world market price or rate of the icelandic currency ISK, but what story does related data itself tell us?
Let's take a look.
Crude Oil (Brent) world market price development in Europe (USD per barrel) from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Unfortunately, this data sometimes tends to lag behind a couple of days and then suddenly catch up again, when this happens we substitute the missing days with data on Crude Oil price development from Business Insider / Markets Insider until things catch up again.
Data from the Central Bank of Iceland (isl. Seðlabanki Íslands) showing development of USD to ISK rate. The Central Bank of Iceland is according to Icelandic law the only entity allowed to act as an intermediary in currency exchanges in Iceland. Other financial entities like the three major Icelandic banks, act as intermediaries in cooperation with the Central Bank of Iceland through Reiknistofa Bankanna. For more up to date information on USD-ISK exchange rate, you can check out Keldan or Tradingview.
Development of Crude Oil world market price in Europe converted from barrels (bbl) to litres and converted from USD to ISK. Calculated by using Crude Oil Barrel world market price development and Currency rate of USD to ISK. The Barrel volume unit (1 bbl) is equal to 42 US gallons, 1 US gallon is defined as 3.785411784 litres, so 1 bbl is equal to a volume of 158.987294928 litres, more details on this in the following Wikipedia article on the Barrel volume unit.
Development of Petrol price (ISK/Liter) in Iceland. The data consists of monthly mean petrol price logged by FÍB (e. Association of icelandic car owners) since 1996-09, and data from the Gasvaktin automated price lookup project which has been running since 2016-04-19.
Development of Diesel price (ISK/Liter) in Iceland. The data consists of monthly mean diesel price logged by FÍB (e. Association of icelandic car owners) since 2005-07, and data from the Gasvaktin automated price lookup project which has been running since 2016-04-19.
This graph displays the ratio between the world market price of 1 liter Crude Oil in ISK against the price of 1 liter Petrol in Iceland. It gives a certain perspective to the interplay of Crude Oil world market price, exchange rate of the icelandic currency ISK and fuel pricing in Iceland, spikes in it are indicators of sudden changes in crude oil prices, ISK currency rate or icelandic fuel price.
Let's do a simple data review process on the above data. First we look at Crude Oil prices in ISK/Liter today, then we figure out when, at least three months ago, Crude Oil prices in ISK/Liter were last in the price range they're in today, afterwards we compare fuel prices then and now. The minimum requirement of three months is just to prevent us from examining tiny time periods when prices are somewhat stable but keep fluctuating over and under current price stability range. For simplicity reasons and also partially for lack of data reasons we make the following assumptions. Fuel prices follow Crude Oil prices within couple of days and no tax changes are made in the comparison time period. Note that these assumptions are naive, the first one close to never holds and the second is incorrect from time to time, tax changes usually take effect at the start of a new year.
|Crude Oil USD/Bbl||--- USD||--- USD||--- USD||--- %|
|CentralBankRate 1 USD||--- ISK||--- ISK||--- ISK||--- %|
|Crude Oil ISK/Liter||--- ISK||--- ISK||--- ISK||--- %|
|Petrol Price ISK/Liter||--- ISK||--- ISK||--- ISK||--- %|
|Diesel Price ISK/Liter||--- ISK||--- ISK||--- ISK||--- %|
Data from Statistics Iceland (isl. Hagstofa Íslands) showing monthly ISK inflation index used by the price level calculator on their website. Here we plot inflation from 1996 to the present, though the ISK inflation index data dates all the way back to 1939. Here we've reoriented the index so it starts in 1 at 1996-01-01 instead of 100 in 1939-01-01.
Combining the Crude Oil world market price development (ISK/Liter) and ISK Inflation Index charts above we get this chart, showing crude oil price development calculated to current ISK value, compensating for inflation.
Combining the Petrol Price Iceland (ISK/Liter) and ISK Inflation Index charts above we get this chart, showing petrol price development calculated to current ISK value, compensating for inflation.
Combining the Diesel Price Iceland (ISK/Liter) and ISK Inflation Index charts above we get this chart, showing diesel price development calculated to current ISK value, compensating for inflation.
Above graphs tell us that more than just Crude Oil world market price and exchange rate of ISK control fuel price in Iceland. Obvious candidates are icelandic fuel taxes, local inflation, import costs and other expenditures, and possibly pricing of the only fuel importer in Iceland, the norwegian oil company Equinor (formerly Statoil) which provides fuel to all the icelandic oil distribution companies.
If you're interested in further rewiew on the above you might like to take a look at Bensínvakt Kjarnans (e. Petrol price review by the icelandic online news media Kjarninn), it displays a detailed breakdown analysis of the fuel price in Iceland, and the data is updated monthly.
Also, if you dear reader are interested in taking a deeper look yourself at the data displayed in above graphs you can take a look at both the raw data and see how it is automatically collected and updated in the repository "gasvaktin-comparison" on Github.