Forecourt operators accused of charging too much for diesel in the UK


Campaigners have claimed that UK forecourt owners are adding to rising inflation for consumers by being charged by many businesses that rely on more diesel than needed at the pumps.

The pump price for diesel is about 10% higher than petrol, even though the wholesale market price is lower, rekindling concerns that forecourt owners are profiting at the expense of diesel drivers.

The RAC estimates that, on average, forecourt owners are making twice the profit from diesel users, which are often the vans and trucks that serve the retail business, compared to petrol sales margins.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Diesel drivers could be forgiven for feeling they were being taken advantage of. Wholesale fuel prices are now lower than petrol, yet still cost 15p a litre or more at the pumps, well above the historical gap between 5p and 10p.”

According to RAC data, the average pump price for diesel is 160.7p per litre, compared to 146.91p per litre for petrol. Higher pump prices inflated the profit made by retailers to 22.36p per litre for diesel, corresponding to a profit margin of about 9.16p per litre for gasoline.

Gooding added: “Generally, diesel is seen as a commercial fuel, with hauliers and businesses considered less sensitive to price movements than private motorists, and with the option of passing at least some of the price they pay to their customers. However, it simply means the cost of living for all of us – drivers or not – goes up.”

Lobby group FairFuelUK estimates that diesel drivers have paid an average of 19.85p per litre more than petrol users since the start of the year, while the wholesale market price of the former fuel was, on average, 2.4p per litre higher over the same period.

The group, which campaigns for VAT and duty cuts on fuel, calculates that “rip-off” prices mean diesel users have paid an extra £1.3 billion at the pumps since the start of the year, which could contribute to inflationary costs across the economy.

A government spokesman said: “We are urging all retailers to ensure that fuel savings are passed on to drivers and will act as necessary to ensure consumers get a fair deal on their fuel.”

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Marta Lopez

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