The Sun newspaper are reporting that petrol stations have been ripping Brits off during the cost of living crisis by failing to reduce the amount they charge in line with a fall in wholesale prices. The latest analysis by the RAC suggests that only one in ten forecourts have cut prices to the extent that reflects the true price of fuel.
The advocacy group have condemned forecourts for not passing on the reduction in cost to customers, saying: “It’s time for every retailer to do the right thing and cut their prices to more reasonable levels.”
Just 407 of the more than four and a half thousand forecourts surveyed were charging anything like a fair price, which the RAC estimates at 174p per litre of unleaded petrol.
Fuel companies have failed to pass this price cut on to the consumer, with the national average sitting at 188p per litre. Only 157 stations (around four per cent) are selling a litre between 170.9 and 179.9p.
The data also shows that independently owned petrol stations are significantly more likely to offer fair pricing than major retailers. Of those 157, 125 are independently owned, 28 are supermarket sites and four are owned by oil companies.
The remaining 96 per cent are selling unleaded for more than 180p per litre.
The story is no better for diesel, which should be selling at 189p per litre rather than the current average of 196p. However, only around five per cent of petrol stations are selling diesel for between 180 and 189.9p per litre.
Again of the 250 stations offering a fair price, 192 are independent, 43 run by supermarkets and just 15 by oil companies.
Simon Williams, an RAC spokesman, said: “In this most expensive of summers, drivers need all the help they can get to keep their spending down so we applaud those retailers who are doing the right thing for their customers and charging a fair price for petrol and diesel, more in line with the lower wholesale costs.”
“Weekly wholesale petrol prices…have fallen by a massive 17p a litre, from a weekly average of around 152p at the start of June to just 135p this week. Yet average pump prices have reduced by a paltry 4p.”
According to the analysis, supermarkets have usually led the way on affordable fuel, but now are selling for just 1p below the national average.
They have historically stayed around 4p under the average.
“The days of fuel ‘price wars’ – where the supermarkets simultaneously cut their prices and made a big deal of doing so – appear to be well and truly over”, said Mr Williams.
“Last month, the cost of filling a typical 55-litre family-sized car with petrol rose by a record £9.12, with diesel just behind at £8.59. For a car that does 40 miles to the gallon, that means it costs a driver around 22p for every mile they drive – up from around 16p at the start of the year.”
“Few retailers seem to be willing to price their fuel fairly. Drivers who fill up at supermarket forecourts have every right to feel let down that they are being charged well over the odds for petrol and diesel right now”, concluded the RAC statement.