Costco Liverpool

The RAC has again accused the big four supermarkets of charging excessive margins on fuel, after Costco reacted to falling wholesale prices by cutting its petrol price by 8ppl to 147.7ppl, 12ppl less than the average price of a litre at the supermarkets.

Earlier this week the RAC called on Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco to slash their prices in response to steadily falling wholesale costs – and it said the move by Costco powerfully demonstrates how overpriced fuel is elsewhere.

The average price of petrol across the UK stands at 161.90ppl while diesel is 186.13p, and the average for the four major supermarkets is only slightly less at 159.75ppl for petrol and 183.91ppl for diesel. Diesel at Costco is currently on sale at its 19 forecourts for an average of 171.6ppl – nearly 14.5ppl less than the UK average and 12ppl cheaper than a litre at a supermarket. At Costco Chester unleaded is a 142.9ppl and diesel is 166.9ppl.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Drivers who aren’t fortunate enough to be members of Costco will no doubt be horrified to see just how cheaply fuel can be sold. It’s no wonder you often see long queues for fuel at Costco. In fact, they recently had to change the queuing system at their Bristol forecourt to cope with the number of people wanting to fill up.

“The fact petrol and diesel can be sold for 12ppl less than is currently being charged on average at the big four supermarkets is very concerning. Even accepting Costco operates on pretty thin margins the supermarkets should be slashing their prices. On Tuesday this week we called on them to cut by 5ppl but since then wholesale costs have fallen even further, so they should really be cutting by at least 7ppl.

“Given the huge gap between wholesale fuel prices and the averages charged by the supermarkets, it could be argued that drivers are being deprived the benefit of the government’s 5p duty cut. This is unfair and we hope it is being duly noted by both the government and the Competition and Markets Authority which is currently investigating UK fuel retailing.

“Other than trying to fill up somewhere cheaper there’s very little drivers can do to avoid shelling out more than they should have to in the cost-of-living crisis.

“To rub further salt in the wound, the average price of petrol in Europe is 158ppl while diesel is 166ppl. Across the Channel in France unleaded is 148ppl despite duty on petrol being 61ppl and, while duty on diesel is currently charged at 53ppl – the same rate as the UK – a litre only costs 159p on average.”