Retailers ripping off drivers with extortionate petrol prices, RAC claims

Written by Lydia Patrick

Despite wholesale petrol prices decreasing, supermarket giants are taking drivers “for a ride” with expensive fuel, according to the RAC.

A new analysis by RAC Fuel Watch revealed that drivers in Yorkshire and the Humber are paying on average 3p more for a litre of unleaded litre than at the start of November, and 2.47p more for a litre of diesel.

Global petrol prices plummeted with the discovery of the Omnicron coronavirus variant yet supermarkets continue to profit.

The wholesale petrol price dropped by 10p from mid-November, so the RAC sees no valid reason for a national average increase of 3p.

A RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams has criticised retailers for exploiting the least well-off in society with Christmas just around the corner.

He said: “Sadly, our data shows all too clearly that drivers are being taken for a ride by retailers at the moment. We can’t see any justification for the prices that are being charged at the pumps and are concerned that drivers on lower incomes who depend on their vehicles are being priced off the road altogether.”

Ed Platt is a 23-year-old PHD student at the University of Sheffield who is furious about supermarkets’ lucrative tactics. He drives on average 400-500 miles a week to see his girlfriend who lives on the other side of the country in Basingstoke.

It will cost him on average £8 more to fill his tank.

Ed pictured with his girlfriend Martyna

Mr Platt was outraged at the prospect of petrol companies exploiting people dependent on fuel to go about their daily lives.

He said: “if  the increase in cost is not because petrol and oil prices are generally going up and it’s just a ploy by transnational corporations, I find that quite disgusting.

“I’m surprised by the news but also not surprised at the same time. There should be stricter rules on price gauging if this is a collaborative effort with the sole purpose of making money.”

Despite the increasing costs of travel, Mr Platt will continue to drive down south to see his friends and girlfriend. He added that it is still more convenient and cheaper to travel across the country by car.

A spokesperson for the British Retail Consortium on behalf of UK retailers has insisted that petrol prices are influenced by a variety of factors out of their control.

He said: “Supermarkets are keen to provide their customers with the best value for petrol through their forecourts, offering the cheapest petrol in the country. Supermarkets work hard to pass on changes in wholesale prices to relieve pressure on consumers, though prices at the pump will be influenced by various forces, including tax, oil prices and operational costs.”


Written by Lydia Patrick

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