Petrol and diesel pump prices varied by as much as 24ppl on the UK’s busier roads last week, according to the latest AA Fuel Price Report.
They varied from the 107.7ppl at Tamworth supermarkets to 131.9ppl at a motorway service area.
The latest report shows that, across the board, average UK pump prices are back to where they were at the beginning of June, wiping out the reductions of two supermarket price wars that month.
Petrol averaged 116.53ppl across the UK, up from 114.66ppl a month ago, while diesel averaged 117.44ppl, compared with 115.42ppl in mid July.
In mid June, just before the first of two quick-fire supermarket pump price skirmishes that month, petrol had averaged 116.36ppl and diesel 117.34ppl. In between, petrol fell to 114.33ppl and diesel 115.02ppl at the start of July.
The report shows supermarkets maintained, on average, a 4ppl price gap between them and their non-supermarket rivals, although higher wholesale costs from oil’s $46.5 to $52-a-barrel rise since July are still filtering through.
It said the standout feature was the pump price range across the country on busy roads, from 107.7ppl at supermarkets in Tamworth to the 117.9ppl at the Liphook superstore in Hampshire. On the motorways, petrol ranged from 131.9ppl to 116.9ppl.
By brand, although the supermarkets on average still match each other more closely than they used to, Jet stands out as the retailer undercutting the non-supermarket sector by 1ppl on petrol and 2ppl on diesel.
“In the past, a 24p-a-litre price gap between retailers in different parts of the country is what we might have expected between a supermarket serving hundreds of car a day and a rural station refuelling a dozen or so. But this is between retailers with tens of thousands of cars passing by every day,” said AA president Edmund King.
“The most expensive is a motorway service area where most non-business drivers will fill up only if they have to and the cheapest is a sizeable town with two supermarkets locked in a fierce battle for local supremacy.
“With the latter, it gives hope that when wholesale costs start to head down again, spurred on by US shale oil production hitting record levels and the end of the American motoring season, supermarkets will be up for a fifth price war of the year.
“On motorways, though, ridiculously high pump prices tar the image of all retailers on the network, which is clearly not the case for all – and could be remedied with Continental-style pump price transparency.”