Petrol prices broke records again this weekend, despite falling wholesale costs and a slump across the two major oil benchmarks.
The average price of unleaded petrol climbed to 191.05p per litre on Sunday , while diesel closed in on the £2 milestone – trading at 198.94p.
The price of filling up a 55-litre car from scratch is now well above £100 for both petrol and diesel – reaching an eye-watering £109.42 for diesel vehicles.
Households typically favour petrol and hybrid vehicles, however diesel remains the primary fuel of delivery vehicles, powering businesses across the country.
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RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams slammed petrol retailers for failing to pass on lower wholesale costs, and urged the watchdog to expand its investigation into the market by investigating the issue.
He said: “We are struggling to see how retailers can justify continuing to put up their unleaded prices as the wholesale cost of petrol has reduced significantly. This is sadly a classic example of ‘rocket and feather’ pricing in action, and one which the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will no doubt be looking at very closely.”
“It seems as if retailers are making matters worse for themselves by not lowering their forecourt prices despite having a clear opportunity to do so.”
Earlier this month, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng wrote to the CMA, calling on them to review the petrol retail market amid reports they were failing to pass on a 5p fuel duty cut announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Spring Statement.
The CMA has since launched a review, and is expected to present its findings to Kwarteng in the coming weeks.
Williams said: “The only explanation of retailers’ resistance to reducing prices is that they’re protecting profits in case of wholesale costs suddenly going back up. Ultimately, the longer they hold out, the more they benefit and the longer the misery continues for drivers struggling with the high prices.”
Tom Hatton, head of product management at analytics group Kalibrate told City A.M. petrol retailers are not engaging in wholesale profiteering amid record forecourt prices.
Instead, he suggested fuel vendors were ramping up prices for consumers in line with higher wholesale costs more quickly than they did in the past, with retailers more cautious amid soaring oil prices and geopolitical volatility.
He told City A.M.: “We have not seen cumulative rises like this for years and years.”