Petrol should be 25p cheaper a litre, MPs say, as campaigners attack ‘profiteering’ retailers

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The RAC’s Simon Williams blamed Britain’s biggest petrol retailers for keeping prices high for consumers and urged motorists to shop around to find smaller independent retailers which carry wholesale prices fall.

Mr Williams said: “While there is no doubt that petrol should come down to around 160p a litre, we fear that this is wishful thinking as the big four supermarkets are so resistant to cutting prices at the moment.”

As supermarkets buy petrol and diesel more often, they can adjust their retail prices more quickly to changes in wholesale prices, Mr Williams said. “They have not reduced prices as much as they should have, which means that the average price in the UK has not come down in line with the significant fall in wholesale fuel.”

Mr Mackinlay called on the Competition and Markets Authority, the watchdog, to do more to find out why retailers are not passing on savings to consumers more quickly.

In July, the CMA launched an investigative study of the relationship between wholesale and retail prices, which is expected to be published in the autumn.

Retail prices have started to decline in recent weeks. Between July 1 and August 9, retail prices excluding VAT fell by 7.6 per cent – but this is much lower than the 20 per cent fall seen since the peak of wholesale prices.

Howard Cox, of campaign group FairFuelUK, warned that the price problems were more widespread. “While there are a few unscrupulous retailers, opportunistic profiteering is widespread higher up the fuel supply chain.”

Gasoline prices have soared to record highs this year, as the price of crude oil has skyrocketed after the war in Ukraine. The war also inflated refinery costs, adding to supply shortages after refining capacity was shut down during the pandemic. The fall in the value of the pound further inflated prices by raising the cost of imports.

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