Fuel price cuts ‘must come this week’ as retailers accused of charging 12p per litre too much

RAC claims filling stations are exploiting drivers as wholesale prices fall

Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 9:34 am

Fuel retailers have been urged to cut petrol and diesel prices immediately after wholesale costs fell.

The RAC said that businesses would “lose all credibility” if they failed to pass on fresh savings to motorists after 11 months of soaring prices at the pumps.

The motoring organisation claims that petrol is 12p per litre more expensive than it needs to be and diesel is 10p too much as retailers extend their margins.

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The price of a barrel of oil has fallen by $10 in recent days, and the wholesale cost of fuel has also fallen recently but prices at filling stations have remained at record levels.

According to RAC Fuel Watch unleaded is currently at an average of 147.64p a litre and diesel is 150.85p. However, according to its estimates, if the UK’s biggest retailers had accurately tracked the falling wholesale price they should really be 135p and 141p respectively.

The RAC’s fuel spokesman Simon Williams said the lack of movement on prices reflected the worst “rocket and feather” approach where customer costs soar as soon as wholesale prices climb but take far longer to come back down when wholesale costs drop.

He said: “Ten days ago we highlighted that petrol was 6p too expensive due to a fall in the wholesale price. Sadly, the biggest retailers, who lead the market, have stood strong and taken advantage of their customers by collecting bigger profits on every litre they sell than they traditionally do.

“On Friday news of the Omicron Covid variant caused $10 to be shaved off the oil price leading to a further drop in the wholesale price of fuel.

Fuel prices have risen almost constantly since the start of the year (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

“We estimate that retailers are now making around 19p a litre which is shocking when you consider their average margin pre-Covid was 6p.

“While retailers might resent the RAC pointing out that their fuel is overpriced, this doesn’t change the fact that they should cut. And if they don’t, we feel they will lose credibility with drivers, although it’s very difficult for motorists to vote with their feet because they have nowhere else to go.

“If a substantial cut doesn’t materialise, we feel this is worthy of government scrutiny as there’s no public body monitoring fuel prices to see if they’re fair.”