Petrol and diesel drivers ripped off by supermarket price gouging despite falling costs

Fuel pump

The RAC is calling on the supermarkets to treat drivers fairly and cut costs

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 03/11/2023

- 10:53

Updated: 03/11/2023

- 13:43

Supermarkets overcharged drivers by a staggering £900million last year

Drivers are still paying too much money at the fuel pumps despite the average price of petrol falling by 2p last month, ending four months of rising prices.

The average price of petrol fell 2.6p from 157.12p to 154.53p last month, although the RAC states that it should be far lower, at around 145p.

Diesel only fell by a penny last month down to 161.4p, but motorists are still being hammered by price gouging, with the motoring organisation saying diesel should be selling for 156p a litre.

Data from the RAC found that the independently run Grindley Brook Garage was selling petrol for under 141p, with drivers saving around £7.50 a tank compared to the national average.

WATCH NOW: Drivers react to petrol and diesel prices 

Emerging retailer Costco is selling unleaded for an average of 13p below the UK average, while diesel is 10p lower.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said there was “no cause for celebration” despite prices falling because they continue to be more expensive than they should be.

He added: “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.”

A report from the Competition and Markets Authority found that supermarkets had overcharged drivers by a staggering £900million in 2022.

During this time, average fuel costs rose to their highest-ever prices, with petrol hitting 191.05p at the end of June, while diesel drivers were forced to shell out 198.94p per litre.

Prior to the enormous price hike following a rise in the global cost of oil in relation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, prices had barely risen over £1.40.

Data from RAC Fuel Watch shows how supermarkets are generally the cheapest places to get fuel, compared to other forecourts because of the high quantities they bring in.

However, a number of smaller, independent forecourts have been slashing their prices to remain competitive, forcing nearby supermarkets to do the same.

Many supermarkets also run special offers or money-back schemes to help drivers save on their fuel by buying items inside the shop, or vice versa.

Simon Williams continued, saying: “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.”

The RAC said it had highlighted the fuel price disparity to the CMA, Treasury and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, prompting a response from the Government.


Fuel pump

Fuel prices fell for the first time in four months


Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho has written to retailers, making it clear that they must pass on fuel savings to drivers, warning that they will be named and shamed if they do not comply.

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