The RAC has welcomed price cuts on unleaded petrol and diesel introduced by the major supermarkets, but criticised them for delaying the reductions while wholesale fuel prices were falling.

On Monday November 14 Tesco announced cuts of up to 3ppl on diesel and unleaded petrol from that afternoon.

Peter Cattell, fuel director for Tesco, said: “With the busy festive season just around the corner, we know many of our customers will be starting to prepare for the big day. So to provide a little extra help we’re cutting the cost of petrol and diesel by up to 3ppl at all of our 500 filling stations.”

Asda said it was cutting the price of unleaded petrol by 3ppl from Tuesday 15 November and taking up to 2ppl off diesel, meaning its national price caps were 110.7ppl for unleaded petrol and 112.7ppl for diesel.

Morrisons and Sainsbury’s also said they were cutting unleaded and diesel by up to 3ppl.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “While this level of cut is clearly good news it has come far too late as the wholesale price of fuel has been falling since the end of October when the oil price began to fall again. Retailers should have reduced their prices then rather than making one bigger headline-grabbing cut now. The RAC called for a cut last week so it’s a case of better late than never.

“The first two weeks of November unfortunately prove that the ‘rocket and feather’ does exist. This is a great shame as retailers previously had a good record of lowering their prices in response to wholesale cost savings.

“This will sadly undermine motorists’ trust in fuel retailers and it’s hard not to see it as them taking advantage of the current climate which has led people to think that higher fuel prices are an inevitability simply because of the weaker pound and talk of the rising cost of goods.

“In fact there is still scope to reduce pump prices further as RAC Fuel Watch shows the national average price of petrol should fall from its current 116.68ppl to nearer 110ppl.”