Supermarkets are rushing to cut the cost of diesel after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced a probe into whether a “failure in competition” between supermarkets is leaving Brits paying more than they should be at the pumps.
According to RAC analysis, major retailers have “quickened the pace” of diesel cuts, with the average price of a litre of diesel at supermarkets falling by 7.44p in the two weeks following the announcement.
The gap between the average prices of a litre of petrol and diesel at supermarkets also shrunk from 9p to just 2.5p in the period, with the RAC arguing that retailers were “jolted into action by the CMA.”
“Since the CMA made its announcement about supermarkets increasing their margins compared to three years ago and said they will be formally interviewing bosses, it appears the rate at which the price of diesel has fallen has sped up,” RAC fuel spokesman, Simon Williams, said.
“We look forward to the results of the CMA’s review within the next four weeks and hope it heralds an end to poor value at the pumps. We also hope it means the biggest retailers start charging fair prices at all of their sites across the country, and not just at those where they’re competing directly with other forecourts locally.”
He added: “It can’t be right that the same brand can sell fuel for so much more in one part of the country than another – this sort of postcode lottery is wholly unfair to drivers and completely unjustifiable.”
The CMA’s May probe into soaring fuel costs is the latest in a series of moves to ensure shoppers are getting the fairest price for their petrol.
In March the watchdog forced Asda to hand back 13 of the 132 forecourts it purchased from the Co-op as it was feared that the size of the deal could lead to reduction of competition in local areas.
Similar fears have been raised following the billionaire brothers behind both Asda and EG acquired the forecourt business earlier this week – creating a £30bn company comprising some 1,400 supermarkets and petrol stations.
A BRC spokesperson, said: “Retailers have made big cuts to the pump price of diesel in response to the falling wholesale cost. It is clear to us that such news will be welcomed rather than criticised by customers.”