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Drivers hit by fuel rip-off as oil industry fat cats fail to pass on £8 BILLION of savings - costing motorists an extra £200 a year

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 23/04/2019 James Salmon Transport Editor For The Daily Mail
Hand holding gasoline nozzle for car refueling at gas station Hand holding gasoline nozzle for car refueling at gas station

Fuel retailers have raked in £5million in excess profits from motorists every day by failing to pass on falls in their wholesale costs, according to a report.

An audit which has tracked fuel prices for more than four years estimated that this tactic has generated almost £8billion extra for firms since January 2015.

It has calculated that over this period drivers have paid an average of 4p a litre – or £2.20 a tank – more than they should have, given the variable price of crude oil.

Video: Crude price could top £62 a barrel - analyst (Sky News)

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Campaign group FairFuelUK, which published the report, said millions of motorists are being ‘exploited’ and accused the industry of ‘profiteering’.

The report comes as drivers count the cost of the highest Easter pump prices for five years. Among the most glaring findings is a difference of up to £22 in the cost of filling up at two forecourts a few miles from each other in London.

An Asda filling station in Tottenham was charging 118.7p a litre for unleaded petrol yesterday – or £65.29 to fill up a typical family car with a 55-litre tank. Meanwhile, a Gulf station in South Kensington was charging 158.9p a litre – or £87.40p to fill up.

a close up of a person: An audit which has tracked fuel prices for more than four years estimated that this tactic has generated almost £8billion extra for firms since January 2015 © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited An audit which has tracked fuel prices for more than four years estimated that this tactic has generated almost £8billion extra for firms since January 2015

For years firms have been criticised for being slow to cut prices when wholesale costs fall, and quick to increase them whenever they rise.

The report calls for an independent pump price regulator, which will allow drivers to track whether retailers are playing fair. Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK, said: ‘Faceless profiteering opportunists in the fuel supply chain are exploiting millions of motorists because this essential commodity and its pricing goes unchecked. These firms can do what they want and they do.’

Tory MP Kirstene Hair, vice chairman of the cross-party parliamentary fuel group, said: ‘We can’t keep treating motorists as cash cows – we need fair pricing, and that includes making sure drivers are not paying over the odds.’

a close up of a newspaper: For years firms have been criticised for being slow to cut prices when wholesale costs fall, and quick to increase them whenever they rise © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited For years firms have been criticised for being slow to cut prices when wholesale costs fall, and quick to increase them whenever they rise

She will meet the Treasury’s Exchequer Secretary Robert Jenrick today to discuss the problem. The analysis monitored the daily wholesale cost of fuel as well as the average price paid by motorists for petrol and diesel from January 1, 2015 to April 17, 2019.

The price of crude oil, fuel duty – which has been frozen at 57.95p per litre since 2011 – VAT, and delivery and distribution costs were included in working out the wholesale costs.

The report calculated that retailers have pocketed an extra 4p a litre on average from failing to pass on the fall in their wholesale costs.

a bottle of items in it: The price of crude oil, fuel duty – which has been frozen at 57.95p per litre since 2011 – VAT, and delivery and distribution costs were included in working out the wholesale costs © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The price of crude oil, fuel duty – which has been frozen at 57.95p per litre since 2011 – VAT, and delivery and distribution costs were included in working out the wholesale costs

With an estimated 125million litres of fuel sold every day, it said this equates to around £1.8billion a year in surplus profits for retailers – and £7.7billion since January 2015.

Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association, defended the industry, saying: ‘Since 2000 the number of independent fuel retailers has dropped by 70 per cent, and nearly 100 went out of business last year.

‘If the industry was profiteering, how on earth has that happened? Meanwhile all their costs are increasing.’

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