Drivers being ‘ripped off’ as fuel prices stagnate despite oil falling by $6 per barrel

Petrol: Unleaded fuel prices drop during lockdown

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The AA claims the failure to record a small decrease in charges means drivers are being “ripped off” with heavier costs. Between mid-March and mid-April petrol and diesel prices went up by around a penny a litre.

However, charges have now settled at around 126.4p per litre and 129.2p per litre over the past fortnight.

The levelling off of prices ends a steady climb for fuel costs with prices jumping dramatically between December and April.

Oil prices started to sell off from around $64 per barrel in mid-March to around $62 in recent years.

But this reduction has only been enough to bring the wholesale costs to retailers down by a penny.

The AA said there has been “no rush” to pass any sayings onto customers to ensure prices started to drop.

Luke Bosdet. AA fuel price spokesperson warned drivers forecourt prices have “not budged an inch”.

He said: “Most drivers compare changes in the value of oil with price changes at the pump to decide whether the fuel trade is treating them fairly.

“At present, they see a significant fall in the cost of oil but forecourt prices not budging an inch.

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“Although much of that petrol price inertia can be explained by a stronger commodity fuel market, as usually happens heading into the US summer motoring season, the 3p-a-litre diesel price rip-off cannot.

“A collapse in fuel demand during the first lockdown gave the fuel trade its excuse for keeping prices artificially high, apparently to compensate for the lower sales.

“However, as Londoners are discovering, that price behaviour doesn’t work the other way.”

Fuel demand in the capital has started to dramatically increase as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.

Fuel demand statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy showed London’s fuel demand was now 83 percent of pre-pandemic labels.

This is higher than the UK average of 77p per litre and higher than during the lockdowns.

However, drivers in the capital have not been able to benefit from lower costs as demand increases.

Prices are still higher here than anywhere else in the UK with petrol drivers paying up to 128p per litre to top up.

This is six pence per litre more expensive than the UK’s lowest fuel prices in Northern Ireland.

Diesel prices are also higher in London with drivers paying up to 130.4p to top up their cars.

This is compared to just 124.5 pence per litre in Northern Ireland which also has the lowest diesel costs.

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