Supermarkets Slash Fuel Costs in Further Petrol Price War

Posted on 23 April, 2013 by Kirsten Kennedy

Around this time last year the nation was thrown into a panic-buying frenzy triggered by the potential strike action of tanker drivers. Although this strike failed to materialise, sales of petrol and diesel skyrocketed at a time where most households were choosing not to fill their tanks to the brim due to soaring costs. This was closely followed by petrol and diesel prices reaching new record highs as a result of the wholesale price of oil.

In essence, it would hardly be surprising for motorists to approach the pumps with a sense of trepidation this year. However, it appears that supermarkets are providing the drivers of the UK with a little good news by re-igniting the petrol price war once again.

As usual, Asda was the first to announce a price drop of 2 pence per litre, with brands such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco hot on the Walmart-owned giant’s heels. Morrisons stepped the competition up a gear, at least for the owners of petrol cars, by announcing a 3 pence per litre reduction in cost; although filling up on diesel at their forecourts will only give consumers a 1 pence per litre saving.

AA president, Edmund King, believes this latest price drop will raise the spirits of UK drivers.

He says; “We predicted these cuts last week, with oil down to its lowest level in a month and the pound gaining on the dollar after its recent fall.

“This is perhaps another glimmer of sunlight for drivers after a hard, wet, pot-holed and expensive winter of driving.”

Yet this is not the first fuel cut posted by supermarkets in recent weeks, however, as all four also lowered the cost of diesel in their forecourts earlier this month. At Asda supermarkets, petrol will now cost 133.7 pence per litre, while diesel remains slightly higher at 137.7 pence per litre.

Unfortunately, not all motoring groups have reacted to the news with the same enthusiasm as Mr King. This, according to RAC technical director David Bizley, is because a lack of price transparency is still causing untold misery for thousands of employees who rely on their cars to commute to their place of work.

He says; “Our research has shown that almost half of motorists would avoid promotion or a new job that involves more driving, and a quarter believe prices negatively affect their working life.

“Certainly, these price cuts will be widely welcomed by UK motorists and it is encouraging to see that the drop in the wholesale price of fuel is being passed on – nonetheless, it is easy to underestimate the impact that the UK’s high fuel prices are having on us as individuals.”

With wholesale prices dropping and the Chancellor axing the proposed rise in fuel duty for September, it seems that things appear to be looking up for UK drivers. However, with prices here remaining some of the highest in Europe, there is still some way to go before the UK can claim to have full pricing transparency at the pumps.

Do you think petrol retailers should allow consumers to see how prices are calculated, or should consumers trust retailers are doing the best they can for them?

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