The RAC is today urging supermarkets to cut the price of fuel by 3p a litre following a $5 fall in the price of a barrel of oil.
The wholesale cost of both petrol and diesel has dropped in the last fortnight due to a 7% drop in oil from $70.55 on 25 January to $65.58 yesterday (Wednesday 7 February).
The RAC’s believes Britain’s big four supermarket fuel retailers now have the scope to cut their pump prices significantly, which currently between them average 119.49p for petrol and 122.13p for diesel, which would spark similar reductions around the country’s 8,500 forecourts.
Unleaded petrol yesterday (Wednesday 7 February) averaged 122.17p and diesel 124.91p a litre across forecourts in the UK.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “We urge the supermarkets to do the right thing and pass on savings in the wholesale cost of fuel they are currently benefitting from to motorists at the pumps just before half-term. The sharp drop in the price of oil gives them a perfect opportunity to reduce their pump prices by 3p.
“There is often talk of sudden supermarket price wars over fuel, but in reality we all know they constantly use petrol and diesel prices to drive customers into their stores. Saying that, the fall in the wholesale fuel price gives them a great opportunity to turn up the heat in what has become something of a ‘cold pump price war’ in recent weeks. The question is which supermarket will make the first move.
“We know there is plenty of scope for the supermarkets to cut as we are aware of several money-off promotions tied to certain levels of spend in store as well as some big regional anomalies in price. In Taunton in Somerset, for example, supermarkets are selling petrol for around 112p a litre which is 10p lower than the UK average and 7p lower than the supermarket average.”
The recent drop in the price of oil has been caused by an unexpected increase in fuel stocks in the US, sparking fears of oversupply into what is traditionally a season of lower demand. In addition, the North Sea Forties pipeline, which was shut down in December due to a crack, has just reopened. This will bring 450,000 barrels of Brent crude oil a day on to the market.