Asda has cut 3ppl off diesel and 2ppl off unleaded across its 322 petrol stations nationwide, confirming that drivers filling up will pay no more than 111.7ppl on diesel and 108.7ppl on unleaded.
Asda senior fuel buyer, Dave Tyrer, said: “We want to continue to support the nation during this second lockdown by passing on reductions in wholesale cost of fuel to our customers and we hope this will provide some additional support to those essential workers, such as NHS staff and key workers who are still required to make essential travel journeys to and from work.”
“Average UK petrol prices have been stuck on a plateau of around 114.5ppl for three months, the cost of wholesale has stayed the same for four. Only last week did the cost to the trade fall significantly and the speed with which Asda has slashed its prices is what makes it stand out as the leading supermarket for cheap fuel,” commented Luke Bosdet, the AA’s fuel price spokesman.
“Why does that matter? Although traffic will fall with a second lockdown, there are significant numbers of people who will need to use their cars: school runs, students to their colleges and universities, workers who can’t work from home or their workplaces are now covid secure and, of course, NHS and other emergency service workers.
“In the last lockdown, many fuel stations held back savings from lower wholesale prices because they said they needed to compensate for lower fuel demand. Asda’s price cut throws down a challenge to other fuel retailers to do the right thing and, this time, charge a fair price for petrol and diesel.”
Virtually static petrol prices in October should give way to pump price cuts of up to 5ppl within the next two weeks, according to new RAC Fuel Watch data.
The roadside services organisation said that although the price of a litre of petrol was practically unchanged for a second month running at a little over 114ppl on average last month (114.53ppl at the start of the month, 114.43ppl at the end), wholesale unleaded prices dropped 4.62ppl to just 82.26ppl through October thanks to falling oil prices, which the RAC believes should herald lower prices at forecourts – just as England enters its second nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
Between the middle of August and the middle of October, the wholesale price of diesel was below that of petrol and in October it fell by 4.62ppl to 83.73ppl. Diesel pump prices remain significantly higher than petrol at 117.82ppl at the end of last month, down just 0.27ppl compared to at the start of October, according to RAC data.
While prices of petrol and diesel at supermarkets followed the UK average by barely changing last month, at 109.6ppl and just under 114ppl respectively, the price of a litre of unleaded is now 131.09ppl, up 4.26ppl, with diesel at 135.19ppl, up 4.05ppl.
The cost of filling up a 55-litre family car with petrol at a supermarket is now £2.65 less than the average (£60.29 per tank, compared to £62.94), and £2.24 less to fill with diesel (£62.56 per tank, compared to £64.80).
RAC Fuel Watch says the falling oil price is a result of ongoing concern about global demand as the second coronavirus wave continues to impact on trade and travel. In the shorter term, the result of the US election may also have some effect on prices, although analysts seem split on whether it could mean prices end up slightly higher or slightly lower, depending on who gets elected.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “It’s likely to be a case of déjà-vu for drivers this month as once again fuel prices are starting to fall just at the point when we’re all driving less as a result of a coronavirus lockdown. It’s good to see Asda leading the way this morning with an initial price cut and we now need other retailers to follow suit as quickly as possible.
“While we’re not expecting prices to go as low as last time – March saw petrol prices under £1 a litre as a result of oil prices falling to a 21st century low – any driver needing to fill up later in November should be greeted by the sight of lower prices, if retailers do the right thing.
“It remains to be seen, however, to what extent retailers pass on the wholesale savings they have been enjoying recently to drivers. While the volume of fuel sold in the coming weeks is likely to be lower than of late, we’re concerned some retailers may only choose to only cut by a few pence, or not at all, which would be bad news for drivers, especially as we don’t anticipate the roads will be as quiet as during the first lockdown.
“There is perhaps a cruel irony for motorists here in that the route to cheaper prices is cheaper oil, yet the main reason the oil price is lower is because so many of us across the world aren’t travelling.
“Diesel drivers in particular have reason to feel particularly hard done by, as arguably they have been paying over the odds for the fuel for two whole months now. We strongly urge retailers to lower the price of diesel, both for businesses and the country’s 12m-plus diesel car drivers.”