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Fuel price gap between supermarkets and other retailers widens

Prices of unleaded and diesel fell by half a pence a litre in November but should be coming down further before Christmas.

So says the RAC as it highlights that supermarket petrol is now 4.7p a litre cheaper than UK average as other retailers fail to pass on wholesale price savings.

RAC data shows November marked the fourth month running of reductions in the average price of UK petrol, with a litre of unleaded falling half a pence (0.48p) to 125.93p.

A litre of diesel fell by a similar amount from 130.27p to 129.83p, meaning diesel has fallen for three out of the last four months; it increased slightly in September when petrol fell.

The fall in fuel prices was sparked by Asda in late November due to savings in wholesale prices, and followed by the other three supermarkets.

The average price supermarket price of unleaded at the end of November was 121.20p, down 1.74p in the month, and diesel is 125.15p, down 1.41p.

However, despite the fall in supermarket prices, the UK average only reduced very slightly, indicating that other retailers haven’t followed suit.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Normally, the supermarkets are about 3p a litre cheaper than other retailers so seeing this go out to 4.7p is definitely a sign something’s different. If drivers are aware of this difference, it’s only going to lead to them heading to the cheaper supermarket forecourts and the smaller retailers losing more market share to their bigger rivals who are already responsible for selling 45% of all fuel.”

He added: “Looking at the wholesale price of both petrol and diesel retailers of all sizes should be cutting at the pump. As it stands, unleaded should come down by 5p a litre and diesel by 4p. We would like to think retailers are about to pass these saving on in the expensive run-up to Christmas.”

Williams continued: “As for what’s likely to happen with fuel prices going into next year, much will depend on the outcome of OPEC’s (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) meetings on Thursday and Friday. As it stands the organization’s deal with Russia and other non-OPEC countries to cut supply by 1.2m barrels a day runs out at the end of March.

“With Brent crude trading consistently around the $60 mark the chances are the current agreement will be extended to the middle of next year when OPEC meets again. But there are concerns about weakened demand, with the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China still not resolved coupled with the US still producing strongly due to the continued contribution of its fracking rigs.”


Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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