Posted: Fri 3rd Nov 2023

Drivers ‘still losing out at the pumps’ despite 2p-a litre-October price drop, says RAC

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Nov 3rd, 2023

October saw a slight decrease in petrol prices, ending a four-month trend of relentless rises, the RAC has said.

RAC Fuel Watch has reported a drop of 2.6p per litre in the average cost of unleaded petrol, from 157.12p to 154.53p.

However, this news is tempered by the RAC’s assessment that petrol prices are still higher than what would be considered fair, suggesting that a litre of unleaded should be closer to 145p.

Similarly, diesel prices have seen a marginal decline, down by 1p to 161.4p per litre last month.

Despite this drop, the RAC’s analysis points to diesel also being overpriced, with a more reasonable figure being around 156p a litre.

Amid these statistics, the myRAC app highlights significant savings that can be found at independent fuel stations.

One notable example is the Grindley Brook Garage in Shropshire, charging just 140.9p for petrol, significantly below the UK average.

This price point represents a substantial saving for motorists — up to £7.50 less per tank.

Diesel too is available at a lower cost at Grindley Brook, priced at 151.9p per litre, offering a saving of over £5 for a full tank.

The contrast is stark when compared to the nearest town of Nantwich, just 13 miles away, where the lowest petrol price is 152.9p, and diesel sits at 159.9p within a five-mile radius of the town centre — both notably higher than the rates available around Whitchurch.

In Northern Ireland the average price of petrol on 31 October was 150.02p – 4.5p less than the UK average, while diesel is 157.48p, 4p cheaper.

Costco, operating a membership-only model, also features prominently in the RAC’s findings.

Its average unleaded price across 20 sites is a competitive 141.7p, with its Birmingham site going as low as 138.9p.

For diesel, the average price at Costco is 151.7p, with its Derby site offering an even lower price of 148.9p.

In comparison, the national average prices at the big four supermarkets are higher, with petrol at 151.72p — despite a 2.3p drop in October — and diesel at 159.24p, which has seen an increase of nearly a penny over the same period.

One pricing ‘quirk’ that angers motorists in Deeside is the disparity in fuel prices between Asda in Queensferry and Asda in Wrexham.

As of Thursday, petrol prices at Asda Queensferry were 5p per litre more expensive than at Asda Wrexham, which is just 13 miles away, while diesel was a substantial 9p per litre more in Queensferry.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said:

“While four months of rising petrol prices came to an end in October, it’s definitely no cause for celebration that the drop was only 2p a litre as our data shows it should have been far greater. Instead, drivers will be outraged to learn they are still not being charged a fair price at the pumps by the big four supermarkets which dominate UK fuel retailing.

“This is dramatically demonstrated by the fact that one small independent retailer in rural Shropshire is selling petrol for 11p cheaper than the supermarkets.

“Our data clearly shows the supermarkets, like all fuel retailers, are benefitting from lower wholesale costs but once again aren’t passing these savings on to their forecourt customers.

“Despite the Competition and Markets Authority’s investigation concluding in the summer that the supermarkets had overcharged drivers by an incredible £900m last year, history sadly seems to be repeating itself.

“Every day the supermarkets put off reducing their prices to fairer levels that reflect the lower wholesale market, is another day of extra profits for them, and another day of drivers having to fork out more money than they should have to for their fuel. This is all made worse by the fact that fuel duty is currently being discounted by 5p a litre to ease the burden on drivers in the cost-of-living crisis – a duty cut that drivers simply aren’t benefitting from.

“We highlighted these issues to the CMA, the Treasury and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero last week, so were pleased to see that Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho has written to retailers making it clear they must pass on savings to drivers otherwise she will name and shame them.”

 

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