Retailers accused of profiting off of high petrol and diesel prices during election distraction

Fuel retailers are facing criticism for allegedly taking advantage of the “distraction” of the general election to maintain high petrol and diesel prices. According to the RAC, the cost of filling up at the pumps is significantly higher than expected, despite a decrease in wholesale costs since the end of April.

The motoring firm reports that the average price of a litre of petrol in the UK is currently 146.3p, which is 5p more expensive than it should be. In contrast, the average price in Northern Ireland is 141.1p. Similarly, the average price of a litre of diesel in the UK is 151.5p, making it the most expensive in Europe, while in Northern Ireland it is 141.9p.

Simon Williams, head of policy at the RAC, expressed concern over the persistently high margins being charged by retailers. “Our data clearly shows that pump prices haven’t fallen in line with the reduction in wholesale prices, so drivers across the UK – with the exception of those in Northern Ireland – are once again losing several pounds every time they fill up,” he said.

Williams believes that there is no valid reason for retailers in Great Britain not to significantly reduce their prices. “We can only think they’re hoping no one will notice due to the distraction of the general election,” he added.

The RAC reports that retailers’ margins for petrol and diesel currently stand at 14p and 16p per litre, respectively. This is significantly higher than the long-term average of 8p per litre for both fuels. Williams hopes that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is aware of the situation and will take action to bring retailers in line as soon as possible.

In a previous investigation, the CMA found that increased profit margins led to drivers paying an extra 6p per litre for fuel in 2022. The regulator has expressed concern over these margins, and is expected to release its latest report on fuel price monitoring next month.

Prices in Northern Ireland are typically lower than in the rest of the UK, due in part to competition from forecourts in the Republic of Ireland. Independent fuel retailers have cited higher business rates, energy bills, and wages as contributing factors to the current high prices.

Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), believes that analyses comparing current fuel margins to historical figures overlook critical factors. “We must consider the significant increases in operating costs, reduced fuel volumes post-pandemic, and the substantial investments required to transition to a low-carbon transportation system,” he stated.

Balmer added that fuel retailers need to earn more from fuel sales to stay in business and invest in the future. The PRA plans to meet with officials from the CMA to further discuss the issue. The CMA declined to comment.

Share this article
Shareable URL
Prev Post

“UK Housing Market Remains Stable as House Prices Reach Record High”

Next Post

Wonder, popular party supplies retailer, teeters on the edge of administration

Read next