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UK drivers being ‘ruthlessly fleeced’ on the forecourt

Written by: Emma Lunn
Campaign group FairFuelUK says motorists are paying the price for ‘fuel supply chain profiteering’ and paying £6m more than necessary every day at the pumps.

The group says the fuel supply chain has taken advantage of the world’s highest taxed drivers and that ‘faceless businesses’ are currently fleecing drivers to the tune of £5.9m per day more than necessary.

This works out to £2.159bn per year – with the government enjoying £360m of extra VAT from fuel. Both petrol and diesel prices have hit record highs in the past few weeks.

According to FairFuelUK, the current retail profit per litre for petrol is 14.8p, 3.3p higher than at the end of 2020. The profit on diesel is 18.4p a litre, 6.9p higher than 2020. But the group points out that the wholesale cost of diesel is currently 2p less than petrol, meaning diesel drivers are the most exploited.

Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK, said: “The perennial and sickening exploitation of UK’s 37m drivers by a greedy fuel supply chain continues to go unchecked. The commercial heartbeat of UK Plc, fuelled almost entirely by diesel is in particular, being fleeced at will. Driving up inflation and impacting negatively on our post covid economic recovery.

“For decades the fuel supply chain, notably a few wholesalers have ripped off drivers at will. But 2021 is year of the most immoral fuel pump profiteering seen in recent years. The smaller independent garages are subject to their pricing blackmail too, in what they are forced to pay. Their wholesalers hold them hostage to their bulk supply and what they can charge motorists at the pumps. These businesses consciously hold back wholesale price falls and ramp up bulk supply costs when oil prices rise, amounting to billions of manipulative changes to fill their already gold lined pockets.”

FairFuelUK is calling on the government to create an independent pricing watchdog called PumpWatch. It says that if gas, electricity, water and telecoms have price protection bodies, motorists should have one too.

The group says ‘PumpWatch’ is needed to ensure pricing fairness for both consumers and fuel retailers, claiming that most of the profiteering is at wholesale level not by small independent retailers.

Cox added: “When oil prices rise and fall, millions of drivers have absolutely no idea what subsequently, they will pay at the pumps each time they fill up their vehicles. It is never ever the same price. There is no consistency, logic or clarity to the way pump prices are calculated. It remains a closely guarded secret in the fuel supply chain. PumpWatch is way overdue.”

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