Independent petrol retailers have been praised by the AA for their contribution towards the biggest monthly fall in petrol prices in five years.
Average petrol prices in the UK have fallen by 5.48 pence per litre (ppl) since mid-September, the biggest monthly fall since the 11.5ppl petrol price collapse in November 2008. The cost of diesel is down almost 3.4ppl.
The AA said retail prices were reflecting the fall in the wholesale price to the lowest level since last December. AA president Edmund King said: “Alongside Asda, Sainsbury’s decision to fully reflect the fall in wholesale prices has been a huge benefit for drivers and businesses. However, the AA is also encouraged by the growing band of non-supermarket retailers challenging the pricing of other supermarkets whose prices in many places are far less generous.”
In its monthly Fuel Price Report, the AA said that in some towns without an Asda or Sainsbury’s presence, the price of supermarket petrol remains as much as 5p a litre more expensive than in neighbouring towns.
It added: “Independent retailers have started to take advantage of these elevated prices – the forecourt of a petrol station in Wilton, Wiltshire, was filled with cars when it temporarily slashed its pump prices the weekend before last. It and other fuel stations nearby continue to undercut the supermarket in Salisbury by up to 3p a litre.”
Looking ahead, however, the report said there was little prospect of further price reductions, and uncertainty over the future of refineries such as Grangemouth could lead to higher prices.
It pointed to a warning in May by the International Energy Agency, which said: “Increased European reliance on trading houses and third-party suppliers may leave a growing share of European supply in the hands of market participants with a different set of incentives than those of refiners.”
Edmund King said: “The bigger picture, with the future of refineries in the British Isles under threat, is more worrying and the AA urges the Government to find ways to support them. Last year’s bitter experience of speculator-inflated pump prices, fuelled by refinery closures, should be warning enough – even before considering the loss of UK manufacturing jobs.”