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Months of rising pump prices come to an end as 2p drop recorded in October

Months of rising pump prices come to an end as 2p drop recorded in October
Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

After four months of rising petrol prices, October recorded a 2p drop. But drivers are still paying “far too much at the pumps”, according to a motoring group.

The average price of a litre of unleaded fell 2.6p from 157.12p to 154.53p last month, RAC Fuel Watch data revealed.

However, it said based on monitoring the wholesale market, petrol remains “seriously overpriced” and should sit at an average 145p.

Meanwhile diesel vehicle drivers saw 1p shaved off a litre of fuel to 161.4p in October. Again, the group argued it is “more expensive than it should be” and ought to be selling at 156p a litre.

Pump price postcode lottery

However, drivers in some parts of the country are seeing cheaper prices, as data from the free myRAC app shows that at Whitchurch in Shropshire, an independent forecast (Grindley Brook Garage) is charging just 140.9p for petrol.

This is nearly 14p less than the UK average, providing drivers with a £7.50 saving when fuelling up their tanks.

Meanwhile, there are also three other independents within five miles selling petrol for well under 150p – 5p less than the UK average. Diesel at Grindley Brook, run by DA Roberts, is 151.9p – nearly 10p less than the UK average, a saving of more than £5 on a complete fill-up.

Elsewhere, in the nearest town of Nantwich 13 miles away, there are two supermarket retailers offering the cheapest petrol within five miles of the town centre at 152.9p. This is 7p more than around Whitchurch. The lowest priced diesel is 159.9p, which is 4p less than the average near Whitchurch.

In Northern Ireland the average price of petrol on 31 October was 150.02p – 4.5p less than the UK average, while diesel is 157.48p, 4p cheaper.

Membership-only retailer Costco which tends to be cheaper is also selling unleaded for an average of 141.7p at its 20 sites – 13p below the UK average with its lowest price being 138.9p in Birmingham. Its average price for diesel is 151.7p – 10p less than the UK average, but its Derby site is selling for 148.9p.

When it comes to supermarkets – historically cheaper than the leading fuel retailers but which have now been under fire for their higher prices – the big four are charging 151.72p for petrol. This is down 2.3p in October but almost 11p more expensive than the independently run Grindley Brook in Shropshire. Supermarket diesel ended October at 159.24p, up nearly a penny in the month, but more than 7p dearer than Grindley Brook.

‘No cause for celebration’

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams, said: “While four months of rising petrol prices came to an end in October, it’s definitely no cause for celebration that the drop was only 2p a litre as our data shows it should have been far greater. Instead, drivers will be outraged to learn they are still not being charged a fair price at the pumps by the big four supermarkets which dominate UK fuel retailing.

“This is dramatically demonstrated by the fact that one small independent retailer in rural Shropshire is selling petrol for 11p cheaper than the supermarkets.

“Our data clearly shows the supermarkets, like all fuel retailers, are benefitting from lower wholesale costs but once again aren’t passing these savings on to their forecourt customers.”

Williams added that despite the Competition and Markets Authority’s investigation concluding that supermarkets had overcharged drivers by an incredible £900m last year, “history sadly seems to be repeating itself”.

He said: “Every day the supermarkets put off reducing their prices to fairer levels that reflect the lower wholesale market, is another day of extra profits for them, and another day of drivers having to fork out more money than they should have to for their fuel.

“This is all made worse by the fact that fuel duty is currently being discounted by 5p a litre to ease the burden on drivers in the cost-of-living crisis – a duty cut that drivers simply aren’t benefitting from.

“We highlighted these issues to the CMA, the Treasury and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero last week, so were pleased to see that Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho has written to retailers making it clear they must pass on savings to drivers otherwise she will name and shame them.”