RAC calls out major retailers not passing on petrol, diesel price cuts

Woolwich resident says petrol prices are 'astronomical'

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According to RAC Fuel Watch, unleaded petrol continues to stagnate in price at around 169.58p, although prices “should fall”. Despite a further 12p coming off the price of the average price of petrol last month, pump prices remain a long way off what the RAC believes is fair.

The average price of a litre of unleaded is now under 170p for the first time since May.

As a result of the price cuts made by retailers, the average cost of filling a 55-litre petrol car dropped £6.77 in the month, from £100.16 at the start of the month to £93.39 at the end.

But, the RAC claimed this reduction “only tells part of the story”, with the average weekly delivered wholesale price of petrol falling to just 124.08p last week.

The RAC believes this should translate to a significant price drop of 10p per litre, as forecourt prices should actually be around the 161p mark.

The last time the delivered wholesale price of petrol was at its current level was in late April, when retailers were charging on average around 162p per litre.

Rod Dennis, the RAC’s fuel price spokesperson, said 12p is a lot to come off the price of a litre in a month, but acknowledged that more could be done.

He said: “In reality drivers of petrol vehicles are still invariably getting a raw deal at the pumps. 

“For whatever reason, major retailers are choosing not to pass on in full the reductions in the wholesale price of unleaded they’ve been benefiting from for some considerable time now.

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“This continues to mean drivers are often paying much more every time they fill up than they should.

“Allowing for a generous 10p a litre margin, we should be seeing the petrol sold for around 161p a litre. 

“Some big supermarket sites aren’t too far off charging this – but there’s a real postcode lottery out there with prices varying wildly depending on where a driver is in the country.”

He added that drivers have to shop around to get the best deal they can, adding that independent retailers were doing their best to charge a fairer price.

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Drivers of diesel vehicles saw 8.35p coming off the average price of a litre with the pump price ending August at 183.71p, a price the RAC considers is a fairer reflection of wholesale prices. 

This means it now costs £4.59 less to fill a 55-litre car than it did a month ago, with costs down from £105.63 to £101.04.

While the cost of oil – the biggest contributor to wholesale petrol and diesel prices – fell significantly in August, down $7.67 (£6.68) to end the month at $92.36 (£80.39), the RAC said “dark clouds are beginning to gather once again”. 

The RAC’s analysis show that it continues to be the case that supermarkets, which have traditionally led on fuel prices, are not necessarily the cheapest places for drivers to fill up with unleaded.

The biggest supermarkets were charging just 1.62p below the average price of petrol last month (168.18p), compared to the typical 3p. 

It is also the case that supermarkets in some parts of the country appear to be charging much less for the same fuel than in other areas, much to the frustration of drivers.

It has also been found that the UK is the least generous country when it came to supporting drivers with high petrol and diesel prices in the midst of the cost of living crisis.

The French Government increased its discount on fuel from 15 (13p) cents to 30 cents (26p) on September 1.

It is expected that this will result in pump prices under the equivalent of £1.50 a litre across the nation.

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