The RAC has previously claimed that the pressure on major fuel retailers has increased after the price of oil dipped below $80 for the first time since the start of the year. And, after supermarkets were urged to reduce the petrol and diesel costs, Asda seems to have done so quietly.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Our data shows that, without advertising the fact, Asda has taken an average of 4.5p off the cost of litre of unleaded across its 320 sites in the last two days, and around 5.5p off diesel.
“While we’re pleased one major supermarket retailer has finally started heeding our calls to pass on the enormous drop in the wholesale prices of both fuels, the fact these price cuts have been made so quietly is surely admission that they should have come much sooner.
“Asda is now charging an average of 153.5p for petrol and 176.7p for diesel which is around 2p less than its rivals.
“We urge the other three supermarkets to catch up quickly – or go even further – and give drivers some much-needed relief from high prices next time they fill up.”
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Mr Williams added: “If they do, this will bring the UK average petrol price down from its current 157.8p which benefit drivers everywhere.
“Despite these reductions our analysis of wholesale data shows this should really be just the beginning as there’s easily scope for another 10p a litre to come off the current average price of both petrol and diesel.
“Perhaps it will be Asda which once again takes a leadership position by further cutting its prices to help drivers save money in the run-up to Christmas.”
Speaking about the necessary reduction in costs earlier this week, Mr Williams highlighted that if a cut of at least 10p a litre doesn’t come soon it will be yet more evidence of “rocket and feather” pricing for the Competition and Markets Authority to take note of.
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He continued: “The disparity between average pump prices at 158p for petrol and 182p for diesel and their wholesale equivalents is truly shocking.
“Even taking account of major retailers’ buying cycles, we can see no justification for them not cutting their prices significantly.
“This failure to reflect falling wholesale costs over multiple weeks at the pumps is totally unreasonable.
“Whenever you have smaller, independent forecourts charging far less than the big four supermarkets, which buy far larger quantities of fuel on a far more frequent basis, it has to be a cause for major concern.
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“Something badly needs to change to give drivers a fairer deal at the pumps and everyone will be looking to the CMA to instigate this.
“While our data shows there were clearly issues with ‘rocket and feather’ pricing before the pandemic, the situation is 10 times worse today.
“What’s more, it really isn’t the case that volatility brought about by the war in Ukraine is to blame for what’s happening now as wholesale prices are now so much lower than they were nine weeks ago.”
On top of that, despite the average price of petrol and diesel falling by 6p a litre in November, data from RAC Fuel Watch shows that the reductions on the country’s forecourts should have been at least twice that.
According to the RAC, unleaded came down from 165.96p to 159.88p while diesel dropped from 190.31p to 183.87p, saving motorists more than £3 a tank. It now costs £91.28 to fill up 55-litre family-sized petrol car and £101.13 for a similar diesel vehicle.
The reason the RAC believes drivers have lost out is due to the wholesale price of petrol plummeting by 11p in November from 122.63p to 111.53p on top of significant reductions in late October.
Diesel decreased by even more last month, coming down 15p from 143p to 128p.
Taking an average of wholesale prices for the last week of November (21-25), the RAC believes petrol should really be at an average of 146p and diesel to 169p – 14p and 15p lower than the current averages.
Consequently, the RAC believes retailers are now collectively enjoying margins of more than 20p a litre – a figure that drivers will find truly shocking as they struggle to put fuel in their cars to go about their daily lives.