Drivers of diesel vehicles are being “overcharged” at forecourts across the UK despite falling fuel prices, the RAC has said. The motoring organisation’s Fuel Watch initiative, which tracks the average price of fuel nationwide, has revealed petrol and diesel prices fell in February, but diesel prices remain comparatively high.
While the Fuel Watch data shows there was just 6p between the wholesale cost – the amount retailers pay to stock the fuel – of a litre of petrol and diesel, there was a 20p difference in average forecourt prices. That comes despite a 3p reduction in average diesel prices throughout the month.
According to the RAC, motorists are now paying an average of 167.19p per litre for diesel – a reduction of 3.19p compared with the beginning of February. That means filling a typical 55-litre tank with diesel costs an average of £91.95, down from £93.71 at the start of February.
In comparison, the average litre of petrol costs 147.72p – down 1.62p over the course of February – so filling a similarly sized tank would costs an average of £81.25. But given the mere 6p-per-litre difference in wholesale costs, the RAC says this £10 difference in forecourt prices should be much lower.
The RAC has calculated what it calls a “fairer” price of 155p per litre, which would mean filling the aforementioned 55-litre fuel tank with diesel would cost around £85. The organisation says that figure shows diesel drivers could be paying £7 less during every fill-up if diesel were more competitively priced.
Nevertheless, the RAC says the reduction in pump prices is welcome amid a cost-of-living crisis, and the organisation points out prices fell for the fourth consecutive month in February. But the RAC’s fuel spokesperson, Simon Williams, said fuel retailers should support motorists by cutting diesel prices further still.
“A reduction in pump prices would normally be extremely welcome news for drivers, not least in a cost-of-living crisis that is making the price of so many everyday items and services much more expensive than normal,” said Williams. “But while our analysis shows drivers of petrol cars are paying a fair price at the pumps, the same sadly can’t be said for anyone whose vehicle runs on diesel.
“Retailers really ought to demonstrate they’re on the side of drivers by cutting their diesel prices now – not least as the wholesale price is on a par with where it was 12 months ago, yet the price they’re charging drivers at the pumps remains needlessly high.”