The big four supermarkets are facing fresh calls from the RAC to knock another 2p a litre off petrol and diesel following further reductions in the wholesale cost of fuel.
Last week they responded with cuts of varying levels price cuts in the wake of well-publicised RAC demands, with Asda leading the way with an initial 2p a litre reduction.
However it was not enough for the RAC which claims that while its pleas have helped bring costs down, the effect has not been as powerful as it could have been because of the way supermarkets price their fuel in different parts of the country.
Figures show that the average price paid for supermarket fuel has reduced by just a penny a litre, with petrol moving from 119.46p (8 February) to 118.46p yesterday (13 February), while diesel has gone down from 121.83p to 120.84p.
Ultimately the average price of fuel paid across all UK forecourts has hardly changed, reducing by around 0.5p a litre to 121.53p for unleaded and 124.21p for diesel, and with the price of oil - at $61.46 - its lowest price since mid-November, and sterling/dollar exchange slightly stronger ($1.38), these factors should pave the way for deeper forecourt price cuts, according to RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams.
“In order to be fair to motorists the big four supermarket fuel retailers should really make further cuts as the wholesale price is still falling. There is clearly scope for both petrol and diesel to be slashed by another 2p a litre at least. We hope they are not resting on their laurels, thinking they’ve done enough to keep motorists quiet by announcing some cuts last week when the wholesale price continues to go lower and lower.
“Unfortunately, despite the supermarkets announcing cuts, RAC Fuel Watch data clearly shows that the average price of fuel sold at supermarkets hasn’t yet gone down by that much. This goes to show that several supermarkets operate regional pricing models rather than charging their customers the same price wherever they are, or indeed having price caps which guarantee customers pay a set amount or lower wherever they are in the country.
“This is very important for the UK average prices as it means other retailers near to supermarkets don’t have to respond to their rivals’ lower prices. We believe this is why the UK average fuel price hasn’t gone down as much as it really should have.
“For that reason we also urge all fuel retailers to reduce their prices, however we do realise that it is not as easy for smaller operators as they do not sell the same volumes that the supermarkets do. This is why it takes longer for reductions in the wholesale price to filter through to all the country’s 8,400 forecourts.”