Since mid-March the price of wholesale diesel has averaged 4 pence per litre less than petrol¹ and yet over the same period the retail price between the two fuels has remained the same².
In fact, thousands of garages are selling diesel at more than the price of petrol despite diesel’s persistent lower wholesale price.
At this link www.fairfueluk.com/all_pumps2.jpg is a selection of garages around Tunbridge Wells in Kent and their pump prices photographed on April 9th. Based on wholesale prices their retail profit margins range from 4-6p for petrol and 10-12p for diesel. Even high fuel volume turnover retail outlets, it seems, do not pass on the lower wholesale diesel prices to the pumps. It’s blatant that retailers are using the lower cost of diesel to hike their profits.
If the pricing table does not display please download it at:
Quentin Willson, FairFuelUK Campaigner, TV Motoring Journalist and Broadcaster said:
We’re constantly stunned at the arrogance and indifference of the road fuel industry and the way they treat their end users with such contempt. Despite plaintive cries of only having a few pence profit per litre, the industry has over the last year been enjoying margins of 10p to 12p a litre on diesel.
Whilst FairFuelUK battles with the Treasury to keep fuel duty rises frozen, both independent and franchise fuel retailers operate a silent cartel to keep prices as high as they can. Only Asda operates a transparent pricing mechanism but their force alone isn’t enough to stabilise the market. We all see the market working for the operator and against the consumer but politicians seem Indifferent because the market is so opaque.
The very fact that this is now a sector known for its profit margins and strong cash flow is proof positive that there’s a lot of money being made by fuel retailers, despite their cries of poverty. Many investors are comparing petrol retailing to the cash generation of utility companies but without the onerous levels of regulation. We think that the extra cost to the UK economy from opportunistic fuel retailing is so significant that it warrants an independent investigation.
2 years ago We pushed for an OFT investigation into the road fuels market (got one) but were told by the government that the market was functioning normally. Insiders told us the OFT had no real appetite for a root and branch investigation and were aggressively lobbied by the oil majors.
We held our own APPG fuel Enquiry in the Commons in December 2015 but industry attendees actually told us that they believed consumers liked driving round looking for cheaper fuel and that the concept of ‘rocket and feather’ was a figment on consumer’s imaginations. We have this on tape.
Howard Cox, Founder of the FairFuelUK Campaign said:
Wholesale petrol has been 5p higher than diesel for weeks and yet pump prices remain the same for both fuels. It’s clear following the Budget’s continuing freeze in duty due largely to our hard scrapped campaigning, those in the fuel supply chain are now returning to type. To unscrupulously fleece motorists, particularly those that fill up with diesel!
Retailers are not passing on the benefits of lower oil prices revealed in current wholesale levels and in some cases are now taking a huge 12p per litre in margins. That’s £5 profit from an average motorist each time they fill up. FairFuelUK supporters are already livid they are paying the highest fuel tax in the EU but this persistent profiteering by retailers, and their manipulative rocket and feather pricing tactics is making UK drivers even more incandescent with rage.
The impenetrable world of unfair fuel pricing at the pumps needs impartial policing now through an ‘OfPump’ styled process, to stop the on-going cash cow abuse of hard working drivers who have absolutely no choice but to pay these unnecessarily high fuel prices.
- Pricing data sourced from the RAC Foundation and Portland Fuel Pricing.
- This press release can be downloaded at