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Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has asked a BBC presenter how much a litre of unleaded petrol costs, adding: “I’m just checking how in touch you are.”
It comes as fuel prices have climbed to record highs, with statistics from data firm Experian Catalist show the average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on Wednesday was 168.2p.
That was up from 167.6p per litre on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, diesel prices reached an average of 181.0p per litre on Wednesday, up from 180.9p a day earlier.
On Friday, BBC Breakfast presenter Charlie Stayt asked the deputy prime minister how much a litre of diesel costs.
Mr Raab said that he buys unleaded, and the last time he visited a petrol station it was 1.65-1.67 per litre.
However, Stayt said that it had “gone up” recently, adding: “What’s happening in the real world is that people try and deal with things and those pump prices, as you pass them, they go up by the day.”
Mr Raab then asked Stayt: “Well you tell me, what’s a litre of unleaded today?”
The BBC presenter said that the highest price he had seen for diesel recently was 1.99 per litre at a service station on the M6.
Mr Raab pressed again on the price of unleaded, saying: “I’m just checking how in touch you are, because last time I looked it was 165-167.”
Stayt said that 168 was the latest price that he had seen for unleaded.
The deputy prime minister replied: “I’m just making the point that I’m actually right about the cost of a litre of unleaded.”
The Competition and Markets Authority warned on Wednesday that retailers could be fined if it launches a formal investigation into the sector, following claims they have hiked profit margins since a cut in fuel duty.
RAC analysis found retailers’ average profit margins for a litre of petrol and diesel are currently 11p and 8p respectively.
In the month up to the 5p per litre duty cut on March 23, it was 9p for petrol and 6p for diesel.