Fall in wholesale fuel prices still not passed on to motorists

Motorists are still not getting a fair deal at the pumps as slight falls in the price of diesel and petrol last month were far outpaced by declines in the wholesale price of fuel.

According to RAC Fuelwatch, in April 2024, the price of petrol final fell, with a 2.4p cut taking it down to an average of 147.88p a litre. This saves motorists £1.30 on a 55-litre fill-up – although the RAC adds the decline at supermarkets was a much smaller 1.2p.

Diesel prices fell too, going down 4.5p a litre to 153.58p. Again, however the cut at supermarkets was smaller, at 3.4p a litre. What’s more, the UK still has the most expensive diesel prices in Europe.

Overall, prices remain far too high, with fuel retailers taking much higher margins than they historically have done.

The RAC reckons the mark-up on petrol is around 13p a litre, and diesel is 16p a litre. The long-term average for both fuels is around 8p a litre.

The RAC also compared fuel prices at the big four supermarkets – and found that for the first time in a while, Asda is no longer the cheapest.

Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsburys are all selling petrol for an average of 2.1p a litre less than Asda, at around 145.2p a litre, while their diesel prices are 2.5p cheaper at 150.4p.

The RAC is now hoping new powers for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will stamp out unfair fuel prices – particularly as motorists are meant to be benefitting from a 5p a litre fuel duty cut extended by chancellor Jeremy Hunt in the March Budget. 

RAC senior policy officer Rod Dennis says the sheer time for any meaningful price cuts to reach forecourts is a continuing cause for concern.

"When it comes to much-needed pump price cuts, it’s sadly a case of too little, too leisurely, with most drivers still getting a miserable deal every time they fill up. We’re once again in classic ‘rocket and feather’ territory, with pump prices only trickling down when they should really be falling like a stone."

With retailers taking margins far higher than they traditionally have, Dennis is now calling on the CMA to use its new powers to take a closer look at what’s going on with fuel retailing and "identify occasions where wholesale price drops aren’t being properly reflected at the pumps, something our analysis shows is sadly still happening."

Ask HJ

Should we use a diesel additive?

I bought VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI 2015 but we do not do a lot of miles as we used to. We hardly do 2000 miles a year and mainly short journeys. We are aware of the carbon deposit which damage the engine but we have been advised to use additive material to the diesel instead? We have used Archoil, AR6900-D Max. We have noticed the engine is quieter. What is your advice please and what is the best additive if it is allowed?
The use of additives tends to be down to personal choice. We would suggest that most modern cars do not gain anything from putting an additive in the fuel system as the electronics and the fuel system will be optimised to deliver the best mix of performance and efficiency in the first place. As has been asked many times - if the additive is so good why don't the car manufactures recommend them? Your car should run okay without such expensive additives. However, one thing to be wary of is that if you are doing such low mileage (and town driving) then you may get to a point where the DPF (diesel particulate filter) will start to get blocked. To avoid that we would suggest that one every 3 months you take the car onto a motorway or dual carriageway and drive with the engine revs at 2000rpm for at least 25 mins.
Answered by Alan Ross
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