Motorists accuse petrol companies of profiteering
Petrol stations across Kent have been accused of “blatant profiteering” despite prices falling for the second month in a row.
A litre of unleaded is now more than 5p cheaper than February, when it cost an average of 120p at the pumps.
The price of diesel has also dropped from 122p a litre to an average of 116p.
But February’s prices were the highest since November 2014, and tax and VAT accounts for up to 75% of the cost every time you fill up, says campaign group FairFuelUK.
Its founder, Howard Cox, welcomed the recent fall in prices, but said the UK still paid the highest taxes in the world for driving.
“In the last five or six weeks oil prices have fallen by nearly 15% in pound sterling terms,” he said.
“What we are seeing at the pumps at the moment is a very late fall in prices, and notably diesel is not following the trend.
“We think there should be another 3p cut at the pumps for petrol and something like 5p for diesel.”
A KentOnline survey of more than 300 petrol stations across the county found some charging as much as 118.9p a litre – more than 4p higher than the UK average.
Mr Cox added: “What is so upsetting is that drivers are used as easy cash cows by the government in terms of taxation.
“And yet retailers in the fuel supply chain are opportunistically profiteering by not passing the right prices on at the pumps when oil prices fall.
“Every motorist in this country every time they fill up anywhere, between 65% and 75% of what they pay is fuel duty and VAT.
“VAT is put on the duty too so there is a double taxation element.”
Mr Cox, who lives in Cranbrook, said he had seen petrol prices in Kent vary anywhere from 1.09p to 1.20p.
“This is not being controlled, it is not being legislated for, and we are calling for the government to do something,” he said. “It is not fair for people in rural areas.”
Mr Cox said retailers could also be ripped off by the wholesalers.
“In electricity and gas and telecoms we have things like Ofcom and Ofgem, we don’t have an Ofpump,” he said.
“We’re calling for a pump watch which will monitor taxes and fair pricing at the pumps.”
What do you think? Write to Kentish Express, Unit 4, Park Mall Shopping Centre Ashford, TN24 8RY or email kentishexpress@ thekmgroup.co.uk
Campaign FairFuelUK says drivers are being squeezed by high tax levels and retailers not passing on falling crude oil prices to consumers