Asda sparks off a supermarket petrol price war

Suzie Neuwirth
ASDA fuelled a supermarket price war when it unveiled plans to cut petrol prices yesterday, causing other major British chains to quickly follow suit.

The budget chain said that from tomorrow it would cut petrol to its lowest price this year, at 126.7p per litre on unleaded and 133.7p per litre for diesel.

Sainsbury’s is cutting prices by up to 3p per litre, its cheapest price at the pumps for two and a half years.

Morrisons and Tesco both said they would bring down the price of both diesel and unleaded by “up to 2p per litre” from tomorrow.

Morrisons said that a recent decline in wholesale prices had allowed the supermarket chain to pass savings on to the customer.

“Motorists should be pleased that fuel retailers have acted so swiftly in lowering prices at the pumps following a reduction in wholesale prices,” said RAC spokesman Pete Williams. “The RAC began calling for lower fuel prices in mid-September when wholesale fuel prices began to fall. Fuel retailers responded by taking 6p off petrol and 4p off diesel, demonstrating industry transparency.

“The new cuts will hopefully bring average petrol prices down to around 129p a litre and diesel to 137p a litre in the next few weeks.”

The wholesale price of petrol in the UK has fallen in recent months because crude oil and petrol are both priced in dollars, so prices are affected by the pound/dollar exchange rate. The pound has strengthened, making petrol cheaper for the UK. In contrast, gas is traded in sterling so not sensitive to currency exchange rates.