Motorists are being ripped off at the fuel pump, paying far more for their petrol or diesel than they should be, new data from the RAC has suggested.
The RAC’s fuel watch study found that the average price of petrol dropped by 7.5p per litre in November to 146.95p, while the cost of diesel decreased by almost 7p to 154.40p.
However the RAC argued that even with these price drops drivers are being overcharged, as retailers are being too slow in passing on falls in wholesale prices to drivers.
The motoring body pointed to its analysis which found that the average retailer margin on petrol is now around 17p per litre, while on diesel retailers are making 13p per litre.
These are dramatically up on the long-term averages of 7p per litre on petrol and 8p for diesel, leading to suggestions that drivers are being overcharged.
The RAC added that these current prices should also be benefiting from the 5p per litre duty cut introduced by the Government in March 2022, yet it’s the retailers who are actually winning out.
The RAC called for petrol to be sold at an average of 137p and diesel at 150p, based on a fairer margin for retailers, noting that currently drivers are paying around £5 more to fill up a family car than they should be.
There have previously been warnings that a surge in fuel thefts could lead to petrol price increases, while reports have found that drivers are adapting their behaviour to cope with higher fuel costs.
Saving on fuel
The report from the RAC picked out certain exceptions to the overcharging practice. For example, it found that Costco is currently selling unleaded petrol for an average of 133.7p and diesel for 144p, 14p and 11p respectively less than the UK average.
In addition, the independently run forecourt Grindley Brook in Shropshire is matching Costco’s price for petrol, while charging 143.9p for diesel, around 10.5p lower than the national average.
Simon Williams, fuel spokesman at RAC said that while the price of fuel fell in November, the data shows drivers are “continuing to get a rough deal at the pumps”.
He continued: “If a price monitoring body had already been set up by now – as recommended by the Competition and Markets Authority and accepted by the Government – then this might have been prevented and people might finally be getting a fairer deal at the pumps.
“We reiterate our call to the biggest retailers to significantly cut their prices to mirror what’s happening with greatly reduced wholesale costs.”