Supermarkets hike petrol prices “almost every day” for 3 months

Morrisons filling station, Wetherby
Image by Mtaylor848 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, http://bit.ly/2k3S3bX

I recently discussed how supermarkets aren’t cutting petrol and diesel prices in the way they used to.

We now have more evidence from the RAC that the market is changing. According to data gathered by RAC Fuel Watch, the UK’s big four supermarkets have lifted petrol prices almost every day since 21 February – three months.

There have been just five days when the big retailers didn’t lift petrol prices.

Tellingly, even on days when other retailers cut petrol prices to reflect lower wholesale costs, the supermarkets held firm or even increased their prices.

A litre of unleaded now costs 128.35p on average compared to 119.74p on 21 February – an increase of 8.61p in the three months. At supermarkets, however, the jump has been even more striking at 9.69p from 115.75p to 125.44p.

While three months of almost daily price rises isn’t an accurate reflection of wholesale price movements, the supermarkets appear to be protecting profits by being overly cautious about not getting caught out by the odd day of lower wholesale prices in what they believe is a consistently rising wholesale market.

Simon Williams, RAC fuel spokesman

What about diesel?

The picture is not good for diesel drivers, either. According to the RAC, fuel retailers in general (not just supermarkets) have been keeping diesel prices artificially high, perhaps to subsidise the rising cost of petrol.

Are things going to improve?

A record 22m motorists are expected to hit the roads this bank holiday weekend, according to the RAC. That’s 8m more than last year.

However, there may be light on the horizon, at least for diesel drivers. Oil prices have been falling this week and the experts at the RAC Fuel Watch service believe that diesel prices are “likely to come down” over the next fortnight.

Unfortunately any savings are unlikely to be seen as soon as this weekend. And RAC Fuel Watch indicates that petrol prices could keep rising.

How to cut fuel costs

As always, we believe the best options are to find the cheapest fuel on your route, practice fuel-saving driving tips and make sure your car is serviced regularly and has correctly inflated tyres.

Another tip is to try and travel from peak hours. If you’re hitting the roads this bank holiday weekend, consider leaving a couple of hours earlier and having breakfast at your destination, for example.

The heaviest traffic is often concentrated into a few hours. Travel outside these times and you can have a much quicker journey (and use less fuel)!

If you’re hitting the roads this weekend, safe travels from the team here at simplemotoring.co.uk.

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