Fuel prices: Supermarkets cut diesel by 7p as watchdog looms

diesel  A car is filled with petrol at a filling station, in Knutsford, Cheshire, Britain, March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Carl Recine
Retailers rushed to cut diesel prices after the competition watchdgo expressed concerns. Photo: Carl Recine/Reuters

Supermarkets have dropped diesel prices by more than 7p a litre after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) expressed concerns but drivers are still getting a poor deal, the RAC said.

The competition watchdog said average supermarket margins in 2022 had increased compared to 2019, prompting concerns about the lack of competition in the retail fuel market

Over the two weeks since 15 May, supermarkets quickened the pace of cutting the price of diesel, with the litre of diesel at supermarkets dropping on average by 7.44p, from 151.02p to 143.58p.

Read more: Drivers paying more as supermarkets resist lowering petrol prices further

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Since the Competition and Markets Authority’s made its announcement about supermarkets increasing their margins compared to three years ago and said they will be formally interviewing bosses, it appears the rate at which the price of diesel has fallen has sped up.

“Significant cuts to the price of supermarket diesel were long overdue as its wholesale price has been below petrol’s since the end of March. As a result average retailer margin on diesel had reached 22p a litre – more than three times the long-term average of 7p.

Despite the drop, diesel drivers are still getting poor vale at the pumps as RAC believes supermarket diesel prices should still be around 6p a litre lower than they are today (137p) if a “fair price” was being charged.

“Even today, with 27p having come off the average price of supermarket diesel since the start of the year, diesel drivers are continuing to get a poor deal.

Read more: Drivers ‘overcharged’ as supermarkets fail to lower petrol prices

“While wholesale price changes take some time to filter through to smaller forecourts which only buy new stock every few weeks, we can’t see any reason why the supermarkets still haven’t cut their prices to fairer levels as they buy much frequently,” Williams added.

The UK-wide average price of diesel is currently 147.44p per litre with unleaded at 143.14p – a gap of more than 4p. At the supermarkets, the average price of a litre of unleaded is currently 140.64p while diesel is 2.5p more expensive at 143.14p.

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