Petrol retailers deny profiteering

* High prices dont mean high profits * Blame government for high tax levels * 400 filling stations closing in Britain each year...

Petrol retailers deny profiteering

The high price of petrol can't be blamed on forecourt owners, according to the Petrol Retailers' Association (PRA).

The industry has come under fire for failing to pass on falls in the cost of crude oil to its customers in the form of lower pump prices. However, the PRA has branded such criticism 'ridiculous'.

'The price of petrol at the pump is influenced by more than just the price of crude oil,' said Ray Holloway, director of the PRA.

'Retailers must keep prices as low as they can, while facing fixed operating costs. They work in a challenging business area, with high costs and very low returns. Most are kept afloat by the shop attached to their site.'

Holloway points out that around 400 filling stations close each year and the PRA believes the real villain is the high level of fuel duty.

'If government taxes were reduced to levels comparable with our continental neighbours, the UK's fuel would be among the cheapest in Europe,' said Holloway.

The current average price of a litre of unleaded petrol is 114.7p, with diesel at 127.6p.