Petrol prices: Drivers ‘denied’ 10p cut as major retailers ‘increase profit margins’

Major petrol retailers are denying motorists a further 10p cut per litre to increase their profit margins, according to a new analysis.

In September, the average price per litre for petrol fell by nearly 7p to 162.9p – the sixth biggest monthly drop since 2000 – as oil prices fell.

But that drop in oil price should have meant the price at forecourts was around 152p per litre, according to the RAC.

The motoring services company’s fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Drivers really should have seen a far bigger drop as the wholesale price of delivered petrol was around 120p for the whole month.

“This means forecourts across the country should have been displaying prices around 152p given the long-term margin on unleaded is 7p a litre.

“In stark contrast to this, RAC Fuel Watch data has shown margins to be around 17p a litre – a huge 10p more than normal.”

Mr Williams advised motorists to shop around for the best deals rather than assuming that supermarkets have the cheapest prices.

Supermarkets normally charge around 3.5p per litre less than the UK average – but are currently displaying prices only around 1.5p cheaper.

Mr Williams said supermarket Morrisons was offering discounted fuel for customers who spend a certain amount of money in store.

This is a type of promotion that “tends only to be seen when supermarkets are benefitting from lower wholesale prices”, he said.

Last month, the average price of a litre of diesel fell by 3.5p to 180.2p.

In June, Kwasi Kwarteng – then-business secretary and the now-chancellor – ordered an “urgent” investigation into petrol station operators amid reports that some were pocketing a £5 billion cut to fuel duty.

In a letter to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Mr Kwarteng wrote that people were “rightly frustrated” that the 5p-a-litre reduction had not been passed on to customers.