Calls for fuel retailers to stop “fleecing” drivers

Published 01 December 2021

Petrol and diesel retailers have been accused of “fleecing” drivers after failing to cut pump prices despite the cost of oil falling by $10 a barrel to $73.18 on Friday (November 26th). 

The oil price drop, on top of already lower wholesale prices, means petrol is now about 12p-per-litre too expensive, while diesel is 10p too high, according to the RAC.

Unleaded is currently at an average of 147.64p a litre and diesel is at 150.85p.

However, had the biggest retailers been reflecting the downward movement in the wholesale market, they should be 135p and 141p respectively, the RAC believes. 

Barrel Of Oil 2

Simon Williams, RAC fuel spokesman, said: “On Friday, news of the Omicron Covid variant caused $10 to be shaved off the oil price leading to a further drop in the wholesale price of fuel. 

“We estimate that retailers are now making around 19p a litre which is shocking when you consider their average margin pre-Covid was 6p. 

“The profit on diesel is around 15p a litre with a similar long-term average margin to petrol. 

“Based on the fact the biggest retailers buy new supply every week we believe unleaded is 12p too expensive and diesel about 10p too dear."

Fuel Pump - Petrol 

He suggested that retailers “think they can get away with charging more for fuel because of the public’s general acceptance of rising energy prices”. 

He added: “While retailers might resent the RAC pointing out that their fuel is overpriced, this doesn’t change the fact that they should cut. 

“And if they don’t, we feel they will lose credibility with drivers, although it’s very difficult for motorists to vote with their feet because they have nowhere else to go."

Competition inquiry and pricing watchdog needed

FairFuelUK, which has 1.7 million supporters, wants the Government to instruct the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to open an inquiry into the fuel supply chain's pump pricing process. 

It has also repeated its calls for the introduction of an independent pump price monitoring body, which would act like existing consumer watchdogs Ofgem, Ofcom and Ofwat. 

More than 95% of its supporters back the creation of such a watchdog and it has the support of a number of backbench MPs, led by MP Robert Halfon. 

Howard Cox, FairFuelUK founder and secretary to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Fair Fuel for UK Motorists and UK Hauliers, said: “The perpetual fleecing of 37 million UK drivers goes unchecked by a Government afraid to take on the oil companies and forego the extra VAT generated because of high pump prices.

"We already pay £50 billion a year in tax on our motorbikes, cars, vans and trucks. That’s nearly 7p in tax for every mile travelled. And yet the greedy, unchecked oil speculators, wholesalers and oil companies fleece us and the economy even more.

"It is way past time that the Treasury and the Government checked this chronic opportunistic profiteering in the fuel supply chain."


hissingsid    on 1 December 2021

The government has no incentive to take action. Their agenda is the promotion of EV's. They hope that the more unhappy drivers of petrol and diesel cars become, the more likely they are to go electric.

conman    on 2 December 2021

With electric prices also rising and will continue to do so by next year you will be paying double the price to charge your EV at public charging points. Reports of 89p a kWh are already been reported, it will be interesting to see if they go down.

Rob Pollock    on 3 December 2021

I agree, successive governments have a definitely pushed the limit of what motorists will put up with and are happy to discourage the use of motor vehicles, but only at face value, as if they do stop us all then the cash-cow that we are to them will dry up. As far as electricity prices go, this is another fleecing, if we've all paid a little extra in our bills for the last few years to help build a renewable energy network, and the frequent announcements that we've generated enough energy from renewable sources, then why should we pay more for electricity? The raw price of wind, sunshine and water hasn't gone up last time I checked.

   on 2 December 2021

We should have a regular 'Name & shame' section on the national or even regional news on a weekly basis. For a front runner the Esso station at the M20 jct8 was last week selling Diesel at £159.9 ltr, scandalous. This station is regularly the dearest or at least up in the top 5 in Kent and I believe this is due to the fact that there are very few services on the M20.
Steve Rose, Medway Kent

soldierboy 001    on 2 December 2021

Oil prices at the pump are a couple of weeks behind the daily barrel prices because it takes time to get the cheaper fuel to the refineries.

Contax139    on 2 December 2021

That's fair enough if they use the same system when prices of oil go up, it should take two weeks to clear all stocks in refinery and garages before the prices increase but they put prices instantly the oil price increases.

aethelwulf    on 2 December 2021

Higher pump prices produce higher VAT returns. Why would Rushi the Robber prevent that ?
No way . The Government are bankrupt morally, and financially. You will get nothing from them.

SM 41    on 2 December 2021

The high price is because of everybody working from home therefore not buying fuel,to keep there shareholders happy they need to keep profits high,they are not going to reduce prices unless we all boycott a major supplier every wk,VOTE WITH OUR FEET or PEDAL.

Lee Arnold    on 2 December 2021

Sadly people do not stick together.
But if everyone did and no one filled their vehicles for a week
I bet they would rapidly lower fuel prices.

Peter Axworthy    on 3 December 2021

You are right. Some years ago a Labour Gov { it does not matter who are in power by the way} gave us the option to get £2000 scrappage for an older car. I scrapped my Petrol Volvo which at that time did not need to be scrapped but encouraged to get a diesel car what the experts said. I still have the from 2012 then brand new replacement diesel model that has ZERO road tax. I get very frustrated and confused as to who knows what the hell is going on. I will keep my zero road tax car as long as the government don't make a rule to take it off me by force. So I may end up with a car that cannot be plugged in or have to decide do I drive my electric car to get shopping or stay in order to be able to have a light on at night and or watch TV. There is a lot more going out there than we will ever know. I want to take up cycling but at my age all that energy will create a lot more hot air against the atmosphere a lot faster.. Reminds me of people who fly in and out thousands of miles around the world to teach us our wrongs. I truly hope the Genie is not totally out of the bottle. I have a feeling that the less well off will be forced to use public transport in the coming years.

Mike-G    on 3 December 2021

No sign that our useless government get on top of anything. Nothing will change until we get rid of Boris and his weak team. Fuel retailers know price increases are in the mindset, public fear not getting fuel, media comment is all about energy costs and so fuel retailers know they can increase prices. They want to rebuild their profits.

karl wright    on 3 December 2021

Months of quiet roads during the first lockdown meant a massive gap in treasury income, the treasury want fuel as high as possible to fill the financial void. People will pay whatever if it gets them to work to pay their PAYE, funny that !

Plodding Along    on 3 December 2021

Is anyone really surprised by this at all?

We live in a country that puts profit over and above all other considerations. A staunchly capitalist country of supply and demand.

The shower in power right now would see absolutely nothing wrong with fuel retailers country fleecing a lethargic public who have very little fight in them - It's market economy capitalism at its finest, in their eyes.

Is it wrong to put prices up at the pump as soon as oil goes up, but not do the opposite when oil goes down? Of course it is, morally and probably legally, but don't expect a Tory gov't to step in when they benefit from this blatant malpractice even more than the retailers do.

paul mack    on 3 December 2021

Totally agree, in October I tried to organise a petition for the government to instigate an enquiry into petrol and diesel prices. Despite having over 155 supporters (this was before I sent in to have my petition accepted) those 155 supporters were sending on to their groups of friends, families etc.
The Petition board (or whatever their title is) replied back to me after 3 weeks informing me that they had rejected my petition application on the grounds that ‘The Government DOES NOT interfere in such matters, therefore your petition has been rejected’!!!

As a country, we are in an absolute mess, No leadership, no planning, NO IDEA.
JOHNSON and his Ministers should be removed as ‘UNFIT TO SERVE’

ruby1234!    on 3 December 2021

YOU HAVE TO PAY AN EXTRA 12p.-15p. per litre if your car needs E5 fuel.

JKJag    on 3 December 2021

Make it so it is just one tax including the road fund licence. Include basic insurance in the tax. ANPR we are told can record Reg Nos. Some include Speed Cameras and they seem to be able to get the fines from these as do the cameras at the Dartford crossing. All vehicles must be registered but a nominal fee for all would be sufficient.
If every camera capable of ANPR automatically fined unregistered vehicle keepers DVLA would make a fortune if the fuel tax included an element of insurance that would keep our premiums down a bit.

Mr Nexus    on 3 December 2021

Will probably lead to a dramatic increase in cloned vehicles or suitably unreadable number plates!

daveyjp    on 3 December 2021

If RAC really believe this is true they are free to open RAC fuel stations and charge less. They will make a killing.

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