Diesel drivers facing unfair fuel costs – should be 15p cheaper

Despite weeks of near-consistent price decreases, diesel is still being sold for 17.5p a litre more on average at forecourts across the UK. While petrol prices have fallen dramatically, diesel prices still languish higher, despite the wholesale price of diesel now being on par with petrol.

The average price of petrol stands at an average of 146.62p, while diesel is selling for an average of 164.26p.

This is despite the fact that both fuels are selling for around 114.5p on the wholesale market.

According to RAC Fuel Watch, there were two days last week when wholesale diesel was cheaper than petrol.

Since the beginning of March, the average weekly wholesale price of diesel has fallen 5p a litre, while unleaded has increased by 0.1p.

Simon Williams, fuel spokesperson for the RAC, described the disparity in price as “absolutely shocking”.

He highlighted how the prices should be forced lower by forecourts given that wholesale prices are now virtually identical.

Mr Williams added: “At the beginning of March wholesale diesel was only 6p more expensive than petrol yet there was a 20p a litre gap between both fuels on the forecourt. 

“Now the two fuels are identical on the wholesale market, and there’s still more than 17p difference at the pump.

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“For retailers to be taking a margin of nearly 20p a litre on average throughout March, compared to the long-term average of 7p, is devastating for every driver and business that relies on diesel.”

The price of diesel should have already dropped to around 152p, and now that the wholesale price is the same as diesel, forecourts should be displaying prices around 147p.

Simon Williams said this was “unlikely” given current retailer behaviour, with many being accused of profiteering.

The “Big Four” supermarkets – Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – are charging “an outrageous price” of 162p per litre on average, according to the expert.

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Because the supermarkets and other major retailers buy the fuel so frequently, they have plenty of time to pass on the lower prices they are benefitting from.

They also have the advantage of often being the only option for drivers, especially in rural areas, where they go shopping and are forced to fill up with the expensive price out of convenience, he suggested.

Mr Williams continued: “But they remain totally resolute in their refusal to cut their prices substantially which is nothing short of scandalous, particularly in a cost-of-living crisis.

“The sole national retailer prepared to buck this trend appears to be membership-only chain Costco, which is charging just under 150p a litre for diesel at the moment.

“Since the beginning of March, they have only reduced diesel by just over 3p a litre. 

“Considering supermarket prices are usually around 4p cheaper than the UK average, their customers should have been seeing prices under 150p weeks ago.”

Independent retailers are continuing to offer prices lower than supermarkets, with more drivers seeking out the lower prices amid the cost of living crisis.

The RAC is also calling on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to “keep a watchful eye” on the pricing behaviour as it is against the interests of diesel drivers around the UK.

The CMA is currently reviewing the road fuel market in the UK., with many drivers hoping the investigation will help lower prices in the near future.

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