Petrol sales slump south side of the border as cheaper petrol prices entice motorists to fill up in Northern Ireland.

Petrol stations near the border on the southern side have been hit drastically since British tax cuts lowered fuel prices by over 5 pence a gallon. In addition some of the garage groups in Northern Ireland have decided to drop trading stamps. This takes a further 4 pence off a gallon of petrol. A price war is causing the cost to drop even lower. A gallon of petrol north of the border now costs between 10 and 20 pence cheaper than down south.

A driver who nips over the border to fill his tank can save between one pounds and two pounds every visit.

Petrol sales are reckoned to have slumped by up to 60 per cent in border towns such as Dundalk. There are fears about the long term effect the price difference may have.

On one of the busiest Sundays with Down and Armagh supporters returning home from Croke Park, one Dundalk garage owner noticed a drop off of 150 gallons compared to a normal Sunday selling.

I've no doubt a lot of those northern people would be buying a lot more petrol here but for the difference in price, it’s hard to blame them.

If the discrepancy in price continues he fears for the future of garages along the border in the Dundalk area.

It is a different story for garages along the northern side of the border where business is booming. One garage owner has noticed an increase in drivers from the south expressly coming for petrol as they turn for home after they have filled their tanks. In the long term, he thinks prices south of the border will have to drop.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 16 August 1977. The reporter is David O'Donoghue.