Chancellor George Osborne’s decision to cut fuel duty by 1ppl from 6pm on March 23 has enraged retailers as motorists branded them “greedy” when prices at the pump failed to fall immediately as they had expected.

While the duty cut was welcome, its immediate introduction and the lack of explanation that prices would take some days to be affected while retailers sold through existing duty paid stocks led to confusion at the pumps.

One retailer who emailed RMI Petrol said: “If the people running this country do not understand the basics of retaining profit and the need for understanding the issues and proper communication, that goes a long way to explaining why we are in this mess.”

RMI Petrol chairman Brian Madderson, who had advised the government to delay any duty cut until April 1 to allow retailers to sell through their fuel stocks, said: “We are going to make sure the government cops the blame for this bungle. Motorists are not aware that wholesale prices are still going up and retailers are taking the flack but it’s the incompetent, insular government and civil servants who are to blame.”