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Forecourts rip off drivers with expensive fuel

Peter Patel
Oct 9, 2019

Petrol prices fell by just under 1p a litre in September but the RAC says forecourts are still overcharging motorists by as much as 4p a litre.

The average price of unleaded stood at 127.95p a litre last month, while it was 132.07p a litre for diesel.

This means petrol drivers are now paying £70.37 - 48p less than August - to fill up a 55-litre family car.


But supermarkets and garages are charging 4p a litre more than they need to for unleaded given falling wholesale prices, the motoring body's latest Fuel Watch report says.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “The outlook for drivers at the pumps is looking reasonable despite the refinery attacks in Saudi Arabia.

"Not only was the impact of the resulting drop in production lessened by Saudi’s state-owned oil company releasing crude reserves, fears of a global economic slowdown caused the oil price to reduce.

"If this continues, it should translate into lower pump prices for drivers in the UK.”

The report also criticises retailers for the postcode lottery of petrol prices, which varies wildly depending on where you live in the UK.

Unleaded was priciest in the South East in September at 128.53p a litre on average but it's 125.87p a litre in North Ireland - the cheapest region.

And it's a similar story for diesel, which costs the most in the East Midlands at 132.21p a litre, while it's 129.72p a litre in the cheapest region of Northern Ireland.

Mr Williams said: “Currently, the prices drivers pay for fuel in Northern Ireland are on average 2p a litre cheaper than the rest of the UK, which means retailers in the rest of the UK are charging more than they should.

"If they can afford to charge less there, they can afford to elsewhere: this can only mean that drivers in the rest of the UK are being taken advantage of."

Ways to cut down on your fuel costs

HERE are some tips on how you can slash the cost of fuel

  1. Make your car more fuel-efficient. You can do this by keeping your tyres inflated, taking the roof rack off, emptying your car of clutter and turning off your air con when driving at lower speeds.
  2. Find the cheapest fuel prices. and allows you to search prices of UK petrol stations. All you need to do is enter in your postcode and tell it how far you want to travel (up to 20 miles).
  3. Drive more efficiently. Some ways to do this, include:
  • Accelerate gradually without over-revving
  • Always drive on the highest possible gear
  • If you can, allow your car to slow down naturally as your brake is a money burner
  • Re-starting your car is expensive, if you can keep moving

Asda and Tesco told The Sun that they always try to offer the best prices - and prices at the big four supermarkets are currently 4p cheaper for both petrol and diesel than the UK average, according to the RAC.

Asda's senior fuel buyer, Dave Tyrer said: "We are always looking at ways we can save our customers money, and lowering the price of fuel is one of the most effective ways of doing that.

"We are pleased that our hard work in keeping the cost of fuel down is paying off for our customers all over the country."

While a Tesco spokesperson told The Sun: "We always look to offer the best prices for our customers."


BP declined to comment while we've yet to hear from Morrisons and Sainsbury's.

Esso told us that while it supplies fuel, it doesn't set forecourt prices as its garages are independent from it.

Earlier this month, the AA also accused garages of "ripping off" drivers by not passing on a 4p a litre wholesale cut.

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