Supermarkets urged to cut petrol prices as diesel nears £2 per litre

New record highs branded a “disgrace” as retailers’ wholesale costs fall back

UK fuel retailers are being urged to cut their petrol prices in coming days after fuel costs reached new record levels.

Petrol reached an average of 189.33p per litre on Tuesday but wholesale oil and petrol costs have begun to drop, putting pressure on the country’s biggest sellers to pass on savings.

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At the same time, diesel hit 197.11p, according to figures from data firm Experian.

The RAC says that petrol prices have reached their current peak and it expects the “big four” supermarkets to start cutting their prices after weeks of sustained daily increases.

The UK’s big four supermarkets are also the country’s biggest fuel retailers

Petrol has risen 25p per litre since mid-May while diesel has gone up 16p and is now “perilously” close to £2 per litre with no respite in sight.

The AA branded the most recent prices “a disgrace”, and urged the competition watchdog to “dig deep” into the current pricing crisis.

The latest increases come as huge numbers of commuters face using their car instead of public transport as the rail network is crippled by strike action.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Just as more people took to their cars on the first day of the rail strikes the average price of petrol increased to 189.33p, taking a full tank over the £104 mark. Diesel also reached another new high at 197.11p putting it perilously close to the £2-a-litre milestone. A full fill-up of diesel for a 55-litre family car now costs on average £108.41.

“But with the oil price falling and wholesale costs down over the last week, pressure is mounting on the biggest retailers to turn the tide and put petrol pump prices into reverse.

“It now seems we’ve reached the current petrol peak, so we expect to see the big four supermarkets start to cut their prices. As they dominate UK fuel retailing this should lead to others reducing their prices too which will benefit drivers everywhere.”

Mr Williams added: “The situation with diesel is different unfortunately as wholesale prices last week still put it on course to move closer towards an average of £2 a litre. If, however, oil continues to trade lower it could just prevent this from becoming a reality.”

Earlier this month Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng ordered an urgent review into March’s fuel duty cut amid claims that retailers have failed to pass the 5p per litre saving on to customers.

The AA’s Luke Bosdet said it was vital that the investigation looked properly into the latest “unjustified” price rises.

He said: “With petrol continuing to set new records more than a fortnight after the wholesale price started to fall, today’s new record is nothing short of a disgrace.

“Rush-hour travellers who might have taken the train are being forced into their cars by the strike, particularly for local journeys.

“To add to their woes, the fuel trade is either on a deliberate collision course with the Government or they just don’t care.

“The Competition and Markets Authority has launched its probe into road fuel prices and, with previous investigations coming out in favour of fuel companies, the trade probably thinks the same will happen this time.

“The AA and its 13 million members hope that the competition watchdog will dig deep into what is going on with these crippling and unjustified pump prices.”