Supermarkets accused of raising fuel margins despite petrol price drop

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The big four supermarkets have been accused of refusing to pass on fuel savings of around 10p per liter to drivers, despite petrol prices falling to the lowest level for the past six months. 

The average price of a liter of fuel fell by nearly 7p to 162.9p in September as oil prices plummeted, saving drivers more than £3.50 a tank. 

September’s price drop was the sixth biggest monthly fall in average petrol prices since 2000. The fall means the cost of filling a typical 55-litre petrol tank has fallen below £90 for the first time since the start of May.  

However, motoring organisation RAC said that drivers would have seen a further 10p cut in petrol prices at the pump, if major retailers had not been hiking up their profit margins. 

The RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said long-term margins on unleaded petrol are typically around 7p a litre.  

“In stark contrast to this, RAC Fuel Watch data has shown margins to be around 17p a litre – a huge 10p more than normal. And the average price of petrol at the big four supermarkets is only 1.5p lower than the UK average – less than half what it usually is, which points heavily to them not playing fair with drivers.” 

“While there are no rules on what retailers can charge for their fuel, it remains the case that the supermarkets are extremely influential in determining the UK average pump prices as they sell so much fuel,” The Guardian quoted Williams as saying. 

“However, as many drivers will have noticed, there are lots of smaller forecourts which are now selling fuel much cheaper than the supermarkets.” 

Average diesel price fell by 3.5p a litre in September to 180.16p, the first time a tank of diesel has cost less than £100 since late May. Supermarket diesel reduced by 1.4p to 178.56p – 2p less than the UK average drop. Diesel is normally 3.5p cheaper at big supermarkets.