RAC slams ‘unjustifiable’ petrol price rise – but filling stations hit back
The price of petrol increased “unjustifiably” by another 4.5p a litre in September, while diesel prices shot up by more than 8p a litre, new data from RAC Fuel Watch shows.
The motoring organisation is now calling on fuel retailers to "play fair" with motorists, as it calculates petrol is currently overpriced by around 7p a litre.
However, the Petrol Retailers Association, which represents filling stations, has rejected the claims, slamming the RAC’s "sensational claims" as "disappointing."
"Contrary to claims made by the RAC, our members are not unjustifiably pricing petrol higher than needed," said PRA executive director Gordon Balmer.
The price of petrol in the UK now averages 157p a litre, an increase of 11p a litre since the beginning of August.
Average diesel prices of 163.1p a litre mark a near-17p a litre increase since the start of August.
"Drivers are sadly really starting to suffer again at the pumps," said RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams, who blamed the increases on oil producer group OPEC+ restricting global supply. The weaker value of sterling is also pushing up costs.
However, it is the RAC’s in-depth analysis of wholesale and retail data that has revealed the overpricing of petrol, which contrasts with lower margins on diesel.
"It is worrying thar retailer margins across the UK is higher for petrol than it should be, considering the big four supermarkets were told off by the Competition and Markets Authority for overcharging drivers by £900m in 2022.
"While many have voluntarily started to publish their prices ahead of being mandated to in law, we still have a situation where wholesale prices changes aren’t being fairly reflected on the road."
In response, the PRA’s Gordon Balmer said fuel margins "have been under pressure due to increased operational costs that our members have had to bear."
"To address rising labour expenses, energy costs and the highest inflation rates in recent years, and reduced fuel sales, margins have inevitably increased."
"Attempting to whip up public anger by suggesting otherwise is deeply irresponsible," added Balmer.