Despite the falling wholesale cost of fuel since the discovery of the Omicron variant, petrol stations and supermarkets are continuing to hike their prices at the pump.
Motoring organisation the RAC believes UK drivers are missing out on £5.5 million a day due to these pricing practices and is urging retailers to cut the prices for unleaded petrol and diesel immediately.
Simon Williams, RAC spokesperson, said that “drivers are being ripped off”, with UK supermarkets responsible for selling half of the fuel in the UK and being slow to pass on wholesale price falls to customers.
He said: “Prices go up like a rocket, but fall like a feather.”
In November, wholesale petrol prices fell by 10p a litre, falling to their lowest since September. At the same time, the wholesale price of diesel fell by 7p a litre.
According to the RAC, the fall in wholesale prices results from the Omicron Covid variant, suppressing the price of crude oil from $84.74 to $70.90 a barrel.
Despite these falling wholesale prices, an average of 3.1p a litre was added to the retail price of unleaded petrol, pushing the average price up to 147.28p a litre at the end of November.
Retail diesel prices also rose by 2.7p a litre on average, to reach 150.64p a litre on average.
Both types of fuel achieved a record price at the pump on the 21st of November for unleaded and 20th of November for diesel, at 147.72p and 151.1p a litre respectively.
The RAC said: “There is absolutely no justification for the high prices being charged on forecourts,” and urged retailers to cut prices by around 12p a litre for unleaded and 7p a litre for diesel. They also want retailers to explain the reasons for the persistently high prices.
Williams continued: “Much earlier in the pandemic we saw retailers’ margin on fuel understandably increase as the oil price plummeted on the back of people being told to stay at home.
“Despite the news of a new COVID variant, we are in a completely different world now with car use near to pre-pandemic levels so retailers shouldn’t be taking huge profits on every litre of fuel they sell.”
The RAC also said that the financial benefits of switching to an electric vehicle were clear for those drivers who could afford the purchase price.
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