Petrol and diesel prices 10p higher than they should be

Although the cost of fuel dropped by 7 pence per litre in September, it should have gone down by much more, according to the RAC...

Nissan Qashqai 2022 long-term test review refuelling

Big fuel retailers are not passing on savings on the cost of petrol and diesel to drivers, claims the RAC. The organisation says the average price of a litre of petrol dropped by 7 pence per litre in September, but argues that drivers should be paying 10p less than this. It blames the large fuel companies for not dropping their profit margins in line with the decrease in wholesale oil costs.

According to the RAC’s Fuel Watch data, the average price per litre of petrol last month was 162.9p, down from a high of 191.5p per litre in July. This means it now costs just under £90 to fill a 55-litre fuel tank, such as that of a BMW 3 Series or Volkswagen Golf. That’s £16 less than it cost in July.

There are also savings for diesel models, with this fuel costing 180.2p per litre on average in September, compared with 191.5p in July. This means filling a 55-litre fuel tank now costs £99, which is £10 less than a couple of months ago.

RAC spokesperson Simon Williams says that drivers should be making bigger savings, though. He states: “Drivers really should have seen a far bigger drop because the wholesale price of delivered petrol [per litre] was around £1.20 for the whole month. This means forecourts across the country should have been displaying prices around £1.52.

fuel pump

“The average price of a litre of petrol at the big four supermarkets is only 1.5p lower than the UK average. That's less than half of the usual discount, which points heavily to them not playing fair with drivers.”

However, the British Retail Consortium, which represents supermarket chains, such as Asda and Tesco, disagrees with the RAC. It says that reductions are being passed on “as they feed through the supply chain”, despite claims that retailers are making more than they would normally following the summer’s record high prices, which were driven by high demand and low supply.

The RAC says that fuel prices could rise again soon due to a predicted increase in the cost of fuel prompted by a cut in oil production. Williams comments: "If we see pump prices go up within the next fortnight, we’ll know that retailers are sticking to their strategy of taking far more margin on every litre they sell than they have historically – much to the dismay of drivers up and down the country.

Drivers are advised to shop around to find the cheapest fuel in their area, rather than sticking with their usual fuel station.

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