A NEW fuel price war broke out yes­ter­day as three of the coun­try’s big­gest su­per­mar­kets cut costs for driv­ers.

Scottish Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Sam Walker

Asda un­veiled re­duc­tions of up to 2p off a litre of petrol and diesel yes­ter­day morn­ing amid a fall in whole­sale costs.

The an­nounce­ment means mo­torists will pay no more than £1.20 for a litre of petrol and £1.24 for diesel at the re­tail gi­ant’s 322 fill­ing sta­tions.

This is the chain’s low­est price for petrol since April.

Mor­risons and Sains­bury’s re­sponded by pledg­ing to im­ple­ment the same price cut over the

week­end. Asda se­nior fuel buyer Dave Tyrer said: ‘With Christ­mas just around the corner, we’re pleased to be able to lower the cost of fuel and pass these sav­ings on to our cus­tomers.’

Ear­lier this week the RAC ac­cused fuel re­tail­ers of re­fus­ing to pass on a fall in whole­sale prices, claim­ing driv­ers were be­ing over­charged by more than 5p per litre for petrol and 4p for diesel.

Gov­ern­ment fig­ures pub­lished on Tues­day showed the av­er­age cost of fuel in the UK was £1.26 for petrol and £1.30 for diesel.

AA fuel price spokesman Luke Bos­det said: ‘Asda’s price cut comes in re­sponse to other su­per­mar­kets of­fer­ing money off fuel this week­end but ty­ing those sav­ings to spend­ing in-store first.

‘This works well for fam­i­lies but ex­cludes sin­gle, young and low-in­come shop­pers who strug­gle to spend £60 in one go. Asda’s pump price cut is fairer for all.’

Re­search from the AA found that 35 per cent of peo­ple sur­veyed agreed with the state­ment ‘I feel ma­nip­u­lated by fuel sav­ings that are tied to how much I spend in the su­per­mar­ket’.

RAC fuel spokesman Si­mon Wil­liams said: ‘The price of petrol is cur­rently more than 5p a litre too high. Diesel is also more than 4p a litre too ex­pen­sive.

‘Re­tail­ers are con­tin­u­ing to hold on to big­ger mar­gins de­spite there be­ing plenty of room to cut prices due to a whole­sale price that has fallen since early Novem­ber. The re­tail­ers’ de­ci­sion not to pass on sav­ings [in un­leaded petrol] means driv­ers are los­ing out on £2.75 on ev­ery tank they buy.

‘Diesel car driv­ers are miss­ing out on about £2.50 ev­ery time they fill up.’

At the end of Oc­to­ber, Asda was selling the cheap­est su­per­mar­ket un­leaded at 121.64p a litre, 1.44p lower than its near­est ri­val Tesco (123.08p).

It also had the low­est priced diesel at 125.14p, 1.54p below Tesco (126.68p).

But Neil Greig, of mo­tor­ing group

IAM Road­S­mart, said that the drop un­der­mines the ex­is­tence of vi­tal lo­cal petrol sta­tions.

Mr Greig said: ‘This is good news for driv­ers in Scot­land, how­ever, this is a double-edged sword as it is only help­ful if you live near one of the three ma­jor su­per­mar­kets in­volved.

‘This price drop will en­cour­age driv­ers to go out of their way to buy petrol and this will then un­der­mine the vi­a­bil­ity of lo­cal petrol sta­tions who can’t com­pete.’

He added: ‘We are all in favour of cut­ting the cost of fuel at the pumps, as long as it is done evenly and through­out the coun­try so it ben­e­fits ev­ery­one and not just those in cen­tral ar­eas as an aw­ful lot of lo­cal petrol sta­tions have been lost in re­cent decades.’

It is the sec­ond price drop in re­cent months with the ‘big four’ su­per­mar­kets, in­clud­ing Tesco, an­nounc­ing a price drop in Septem­ber.

The fore­court cut was prompted by a fall in whole­sale prices the pre­vi­ous month which was trig­gered by a 5 per cent drop in the price of oil. Cam­paign group FairFuelUK has es­ti­mated that driv­ers are over­charged by £23.5mil­lion a month be­cause petrol re­tail­ers fail to pass on re­duc­tions in whole­sale prices.

It said ear­lier this year that driv­ers are over­charged by at least 6p for ev­ery litre of fuel bought, and po­ten­tially more for diesel.

‘Plenty of room to cut prices’

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