Major retailers not reflecting wholesale costs and cutting price of fuel

Major retailers not reflecting wholesale costs and cutting price of fuel
RAC data has revealed that the UK’s major fuel retailers are not passing on the savings they are making on wholesale costs.

On Sunday (10th July), the price of petrol reached 190.65p a litre and 198.42p a litre for diesel.

However, the actions of the retailers have angered many across the country.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Fractional falls of under a penny a litre in the average price of both petrol and diesel over the course of a week when wholesale prices have plummeted are an irremovable stain on major retailers' reputations.

"It's frightening to think this is going on under the nose of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Whatever the situation is with the issue it has identified with refining margins, there is still a wholesale price and a retail price – and the gap in between is retailer margin.

“When this grows significantly, it should always be a cause for concern as it's a sign that drivers are being taken for a ride.

"Just this weekend there have been queues to buy more fairly priced fuel at wholesaler Costco in Manchester and a major supermarket running a fuel discount promotion – both signs that petrol and diesel are substantially overpriced.”

Last week, the CMA reported that after the review of competition in the road fuel market, there is cause for concern in the growing gap between the price of crude oil when it enters refineries, and the wholesale price when it leaves refineries as petrol or diesel – also known as ‘refining spread’.

Following the announcement, the CMA launched a full market study in order to discover the complete state of the road fuel market in the UK. An interim update will be published in the autumn this year.

However, some within the industry felt that the CMA didn’t go far enough in its initial judgement.

Williams continued: "Independent retailers' claims that the CMA's report 'exonerated' them is interesting to say the least when recent analysis of wholesale and average retail price data tells a very different story.

"The weekly wholesale price of petrol has fallen by 12p a litre over the last six weeks. Last week it averaged just 140.5p so it's very wrong that drivers are still paying 190.65p across the UK. When factoring in a generous 10p a litre retailer margin and 20% VAT the cost of a litre should be around 181p.

“While the CMA's review concluded that retailer margins are only a relatively small component of the pump price at around 10p a litre, it's worrying to see margins are currently averaging closer to 15p."

What do you make of the current fuel prices and the CMA’s announcement? Leave your comment below.

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