An independent retailer in the West Midlands is believed to be the first to offer unleaded petrol at less than £1 a litre since the recent slide in fuel prices began.

Velautham Sarveswaran, who runs four Harvest-branded sites with his wife, Ananthi, cut prices at his sites in Birmingham, Redditch and Walsall down to 99.7ppl on unleaded petrol and 109.7ppl on diesel on Sunday.

However he was keen to emphasise that the move was not a one-off publicity stunt as his sites have all built a reputation for the cheapest fuel in their area over the past four years. “Customers come to us because they know we will be cheapest,” he said.

Asked how he managed to maintain the prices he said: “We have a very good contract with Harvest and we are not trying to be greedy. We set margins and we stick to them.”

He said the pricing policy had helped to more than double volume at the Redditch site over the past four years and had helped to build up the Birmingham and Walsall sites which he opened after they had been closed down.

However he said that while he had expected an increase in volume following the latest cut the level had taken him by surprise. Volume was more than twice the usual and he had run out of fuel at each of the sites before upping his orders with Harvest.

Velautham was critical of major supermarkets publicity campaigns about their price cuts saying they were delaying and not keeping up with falling prices. He said: “The supermarkets were competitive a few years ago, but since they wiped out a lot of independents they are not so quick to bring down their prices.”

He said he expected to maintain the prices at his three sites and would be moving prices down to the same level at his fourth site in Swindon on Sunday.