Petrol prices drop for the second consecutive month but the savings aren’t being passed onto the consumer.
December saw pump prices fall fro the second consecutive month, but not at the level they should have considering a sharp fall in oil prices according to data from the RAC’s fuel watch.
The average price of unleaded fell from 123.67p to 120.92p and diesel 133.09p to 130.01p. This is despite oil prices plummeting 14.5% since the beginning of December, from $60.31 to $51.52 on 27 December.
RAC Fuel Watch data shows the price of unleaded petrol should decrease by more than 8p per litre to 113p per litre, and diesel by 10p per litre to 120p per litre if retailers passed on the savings from the lower wholesale price, which could result in prices at the pump of around 110p a litre for petrol and 117p for diesel.
At the end of December it cost on average £66.51 to fill up a 55-litre family car with unleaded – £1.51 less than November – and £71.51 for the equivalent diesel vehicle, and a saving of £1.69 on the previous month.
A litre of unleaded cost an average of 117.23p at the four biggest supermarkets, and diesel 126.76p. The average price at an Asda forecourt, however, was 114.7p a litre for petrol and 125.53p for diesel. At motorway service areas petrol was sold for an average of 138.48p and diesel for 148.14p.
Despite an overall reduction in fuel costs in December there are fears that supermarket fuel retailing may have changed forever, with only Asda’s pump prices reflecting the lower wholesale price. Since around mid-October, other supermarket fuel retailers have chosen not to compete in the way they have in the past, currently charging up to 4p per litre for unleaded than Asda.
The result is that UK drivers are losing out on fuel savings. RAC fuel spokesperson, Simon Williams, said, “The decision by all supermarkets to take more profit on a litre has led to every driver having to pay more to fill up than they should have to. This is because the UK average is negatively affected, as other retailers are not being forced through competition to lower their prices.
"This is a highly unusual situation, the likes of which we haven’t seen before. If this new pricing behaviour continues into 2019 this could spell a bleaker year for drivers at the pumps no matter what happens to the price of wholesale fuel.”