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Fuel retailers accused of hiking profits as drivers face new record high prices

Fuel retailers accused of hiking profits as drivers face new record high prices

Fuel retailers have been accused of exploiting hard-pressed motorists by extending their profits as petrol and diesel prices soar.

Its analysis of fuel margins shows that retailers are making an extra 2p per litre compared with mid-March, before Chancellor Rishi Sunak cut 5p per litre from fuel duty.

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Their margins are now 11p per litre for petrol and 8p for diesel, where in the month before the duty cut, they were 9p and 6p respectively.

(Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

The RAC’s fuel spokesman Simon Williams said it meant drivers were being denied potential savings and warned that the volatile price of oil made even more price rises inevitable.

On Monday, the RAC reported that the average price of a litre of diesel had exceeded 180p for the first time. This was backed up by figures from analysts Experian Catalist, which also showed the fuel at 180.3p per litre. Separate government figures suggested it was 179.7p – a record high according to its own data.

Petrol has not yet returned to the 167.3p record set on 22 March but the RAC and Experian Catalist both report that it is currently at 166.8p and likely to rise.

Mr Williams said: “With oil trading above $110 a barrel and the pound down to $1.20, it now looks inevitable that petrol will hit a new average price record in the coming days, spelling yet more misery for drivers.

“While March’s 5p-a-litre duty cut is making a difference, it’s not proved to be helping as much as the Government had hoped, which means there’s little to prevent prices going even higher.

“RAC analysis of fuel margins shows retailers – for whatever reason – are taking on average 2p a litre more than they were before the Chancellor’s 5p duty cut. The average margin for petrol is currently 11p a litre and for diesel 8p. To put this into perspective the long-term average margin for unleaded is 7.5p and for diesel 8p.”

Responding to the latest figures, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The public rightly expect retailers and others in the supply chain to pass on the fuel duty cut at the forecourts.

“We know that a number of retailers – big supermarkets, Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s – are passing on the cuts and we will raise this with other petrol retailers.

“The Business Secretary will be writing to the industry again to remind them of their responsibilities here so they should be in no doubt about the need to make sure that everyone is passing on these cuts on the forecourt.”


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