UK: Fuel retailers accused of price gouging as fuel prices soar

UK: Fuel retailers accused of price gouging as fuel prices soar

by Pranali Mehta

Fuel retailers in the UK are reportedly being accused of profiteering as petrol and diesel prices reached new highs in the country despite there being a drop in wholesale costs.

On Sunday, cost of unleaded petrol hit a new high of 191.05p per liter, while diesel touched its own record highs of 199.09p on Saturday. This implies that filling up a 55-liter family car might cost around £109.42 ($134.18).

While Britons struggle with the cost of the living crisis, these price hikes are expected to intensify ongoing debate around the topic of  pricing at forecourts.

Retailers have also been accused of failing to pass on the 5p reduction in fuel duty, unveiled by Rishi Sunak in his spring statement in March, to the customers. The nation’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is looking into the matter and is expected to report back on the issue on July 7.

For the uninitiated, spiking oil prices, in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have pushed fuel prices up significantly. However, in recent weeks, prices of the commodity have gone down notably, driven by fears of a global recession.

Simon Williams, an RAC fuel representative, stated that it is becoming difficult to see how retailers can continue to justify hiking their unleaded prices as the wholesale petrol costs have decreased dramatically.

Williams further stated that this is a regrettably classic case of ‘rocket and feather' pricing in action, and the Competition and Markets Authority will undoubtedly be closely examining it. Retailers appear to be worsening their situation by refusing to reduce forecourt prices while having an obvious chance to do so.

Retailers claim that they only make a few cents per liter, that oil refineries are generating more significant profits, and that rising costs are driven by the gradual weakening of the pound against the dollar.

Howard Cox, FairFuelUK Campaign founder, called it unfair to put all retailers under one roof.

Cox stated that there are undoubtedly some big name retailers who are acting dishonestly, but there are also numerous independents who earn only a few pence per liter. He pointed towards refineries and the role they’re playing in the matter while hoping for the CMA has a strong handle on the situation.

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Pranali Mehta

A chemical engineer by qualification, Pranali Mehta dutifully walked down the slated path and worked in a chemical firm for a year. Her passion for writing however, pushed her into experimenting with the same as a career. With over three years of experience in content writ Read more...