Petrol ‘rip off’ adds £6 a tank: Drivers should be saving 11p a litre


Petrol ‘rip off’ adds £6 a tank: Drivers should be saving 11p a litre if petrol retailers were being fair, new analysis finds

  • New research has found that pump prices are 11p more than they should be 
  • Petrol retailers have been accused of ripping off drivers by £6 for a tank of fuel
  • RAC said plummeting wholesale fuel prices were not being passed on at pumps 

Petrol retailers were yesterday accused of ripping off drivers by as much as £6 for a tank of petrol and nearly £8 for diesel.

RAC analysis found that average pump prices on forecourts should be 11p a litre cheaper for petrol and 14p for diesel if retailers were playing fair with drivers.

The motoring group said that plummeting wholesale fuel prices since mid-October were still not being passed on in full at the pumps.

Allowing for a 10p a litre retailer margin – 3p more than the long-term average – the RAC calculated that average petrol prices should be around 140p a litre and diesel about 160p.

Fuel retailers are not playing fair with motorists: Filling the typical 55-litre tank in a family car with petrol is around £6.05 more expensive than it should have been in December, says RAC

But despite forecourt prices dropping, at the end of December they were still much higher at an average 151.06p and 173.97p respectively.

It means filling the typical 55-litre tank in a family car with petrol is around £6.05 more expensive than it should be, according to the motoring group’s analysis. For diesel it was £7.70.

RAC fuel expert Simon Williams said: ‘On the face of it, December looks like it was a good month for drivers, with 9p coming off at the pumps on top of November’s 6p.

How to save money on your fuel bills 

Read our guide to reducing your fuel use, meaning less frequent trips to the pumps

Read our guide to reducing your fuel use, meaning less frequent trips to the pumps

Using really simple eco-driving techniques ‘can easily save the equivalent of 9p-a-litre’, says the AA.

For motorists desperately wanting to get the most out of the expensive fuel they’re currently pumping into their cars, we’ve compiled our top 10 best tips to drive as efficiently as possible. 

‘But there’s no question that the drop should have been far bigger given how far wholesale prices have come down.’ 

Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK campaign, said: ‘For years and years there’s been a foul stench of sickening exploitation hanging around thousands of garage forecourts, despite falling wholesale and oil costs.

‘We should be seeing fuel price signposts across the country 10p to 20p a litre lower for diesel and petrol.’ Business Secretary Grant Shapps wrote to fuel retailers on December 22 urging them to ‘ensure savings are passed on to consumers’.

It came amid fears that retailers were cashing in on the Great Christmas getaway by failing to pass on more of the savings from the drop in wholesale fuel prices, which have been volatile all year due largely to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Average pump prices earlier this year hit a record average of 191.5p a litre for unleaded and 199.09p for diesel in what has been a punishing year on motorists’ wallets.

But they were still higher over Christmas 2022 than 2021 despite the big fall in the wholesale price of fuel, the RAC found.

By how much did fuel prices come down where you live?

PETROL

Northern Ireland saw the biggest decline in petrol prices in December, dropping by an average of 10.6p-a-litre to end the month at 144.4p. 

The smallest fall was in the South East, where unleaded dropped by just 7.54p on average. On December 31, drivers in the region were paying 153.0p for petrol – some 8.6p more than motorists in NI. 

The most expensive region to fill up with petrol is London, with average prices sitting at 153.5p. 

DIESEL

The most substantial fall in diesel prices last month was seen in the North East, where it fell by 11.6p-a-litre on average to end December at 171.2p.

In contrast, the average cost of the fuel dropped by just 8.5p in London, with drivers charged on average 177.2p per litre. That is 6p-a-litre more than it cost in the North East on December 31. It’s also the highest average price anywhere in the UK – some 12.6p more per litre than the cheapest (NI).

A report last month by the competition watchdog found that retailers may be ripping off drivers with ‘rocket and feather’ pricing.

This is where they are quick to pass on rising wholesale fuel costs and slow to pass on the savings when they fall.

Analysis found that average pump prices should have been 11p a litre cheaper for petrol and 14p for diesel at the end of December

Analysis found that average pump prices should have been 11p a litre cheaper for petrol and 14p for diesel at the end of December

The Competition and Markets Authority report said further investigation was needed to find out whether this uplift was the fault of excessive pricing.

CMA analysts found average retailer margins have risen by up to 4p a litre over the last five years.

The Daily Mail and MailOnline has repeatedly highlighted how falling wholesale costs have thrown up glaring price differences at forecourts around the country.

Gordon Balmer, boss of the Petrol Retailers Association, which represents smaller independent forecourts across the country, has denied retailers were ripping people off.

He said they had been forced to hike margins due to increased running costs such as soaring electricity and staff bills.



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk