Mo­torists ac­cuse petrol com­pa­nies of prof­i­teer­ing

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Drivers Under The Pump -

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

Pic­ture: Luca Francesco Gio­vanni Ber­tolli/Getty Im­ages/iS­tock­photo

Cam­paign FairFuelUK says driv­ers are be­ing squeezed by high tax lev­els and re­tail­ers not pass­ing on fall­ing crude oil prices to con­sumers

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