‘Cries of alarm’ from diesel drivers as prices near record high

Diesel drivers are being ‘ripped off’ says Fair Fuel UK

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Drivers and businesses that rely on diesel for getting to work and delivering goods and services have been spared fuel costs rising back towards record levels. However, diesel’s average pump prices have jumped nearly 6p a litre in the past month, despite wholesale costs falling.

AA Fuel Price Report analysis of wholesale cost movements for petrol and diesel reveals that, after a sharp rise of nearly 18p a litre between September 30 and October 7, diesel has dropped back between 4p and 5p since. 

At the end of the first week of October, diesel destined for UK forecourts reached 102.79p a litre, compared to the record of 109.90p in the middle of June (without the VAT added at the pump).

In comparison, this week it has been in the region of 97p, with hopes of pump prices also dropping soon.

Were it not for supermarkets delaying the passing on of higher wholesale costs (explained below), yesterday’s record 22.85p gap between the average pump price of a litre of petrol and a litre of diesel would be even worse.

At the pump, diesel on Tuesday averaged 187.08p a litre, compared to 181.28p a month ago, meanwhile, petrol that averaged 164.78p in mid-September is now down to 164.47p.

Luke Bosdet, the AA’s fuel price spokesperson, said: “Can we call what is happening with diesel ‘desperate’? Well, not just yet. 

“Wholesale costs haven’t reached the record levels in June, they’ve come off the boil in recent days, and it is still possible for white van man to save £8 a tank by shopping around.

“Diesel pump price increases are helping to fuel inflation by pushing up haulage and delivery costs. But the biggest cries of alarm are coming from the 11.4 million diesel car owners. 

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“Many of them switched to DERV (Diesel Engine Road Vehicle) because its better fuel efficiency compared to petrol offered the chance to save money. The record price difference has put an end to that.”

Mr Bosdet adds that there was also a greenhouse gas incentive, as latest Government statistics show that a medium diesel car produces 12.5 percent less CO2 than its petrol equivalent and eight percent less for small cars.

However worse low-level emissions in urban driving have damned diesels in major towns and cities.

At the moment, there is a lot of variation in diesel pump prices around the country, with experts urging drivers to seek out the cheapest fuel near to them.

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The AA claims that drivers could save as much as 10p per litre both locally or just by travelling a short distance.

This can be found in Stirling, where drivers could be saving 11p, with Sainsbury’s selling diesel for 176.9p, compared to BP and Shell a short distance away charging 187.9p per litre.

Petrol wholesale costs have also fallen away but these reductions are bigger than diesel’s, which is another reason why the difference between petrol and diesel pump prices continues to grow.

Mr Bosdet concluded, saying: “Scanning pump prices between communities and even locally has shown big differences between forecourts, particularly with diesel. 

“Fuel price search tools, like the AA App, have been helping drivers to hunt down big savings. 

“However the Transport Secretary’s response to a question in the Commons last Thursday suggests that drivers across the UK mainland will eventually enjoy the fuel price transparency that spurs competition and helps to make Northern Ireland pump prices so much cheaper.”

In the Commons, Secretary of State for Transport, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said the Cabinet was taking steps to support motorists with fuel costs.

She acknowledged that in rural areas, like her constituency of Broadland, drivers are “disproportionately affected” by high fuel costs.

She suggested that a system, similar to Nothern Ireland’s Consumer Council Fuel Checker, could promote competition and lower prices for drivers.

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