Petrol stations are making as much as 12p per litre from diesel as they fail to pass on lowering wholesale prices – prompting TV presenter Quentin Willson to demand an investigation.
Willson 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.”
Through the FairFuelUK campaign, Willson has successfully been encouraging the Treasury to keep fuel duty rises frozen. But he says fuel retailers are operating a ‘silent cartel’ to avoid passing on the savings.
He added: “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.”
Data acquired by the FairFuelUK campaign reveals that the average wholesale diesel prices over the last four weeks has been 96p per litre, compared to 100p for petrol.
But diesel prices have continually matched petrol prices at the pumps – with an average mark up on diesel of 9p per litre, compared to 5p per litre for diesel.
FairFuelUK founder Howard Cox 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.”