Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s fail to cut fuel prices in line with falling costs, RAC claims

Drivers filling up with the end of July average of petrol could be paying almost £9 a tank more than they should be. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Drivers are missing out on petrol price savings as four major retailers fail to pass on falling wholesale costs at the pump, the RAC has claimed.

Petrol prices at the "big four" supermarkets are not in line with dropping costs, the roadside recovery firm has warned.

Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, along with several other suppliers - have been facing criticism for failing to reduce their prices in line with falling wholesale costs.

The RAC said the wholesale cost of unleaded - the price when it arrives at forecourts - is now back down to its early May price of 131.75p per litre, which saw average pump prices of around 167p per litre.

However, drivers are currently paying an average of 183p per litre at pumps, across the UK - despite the drop in wholesale costs, the firm said.

It comes after fuel prices hit their highest-ever levels earlier this summer as the UK’s cost of living crisis started to bite.

Meanwhile, the latest figures have shown that the wholesale cost of petrol has fallen by 20p since early June.

Despite this British retailers continued to increase their rates in June and only dropped their pump prices by an average of 9p during July.

As a result drivers filling up with the end of July average of 183p per litre could be paying almost £9 a tank more than they should be.

Equally, the firm said drivers should now be paying about 182p per litre for diesel - nearly £6 a tank lower than the end of July average of 192p per litre.

According to the RAC, while several reduced their prices last week, the cuts are not enough to be in line with the wholesale cost.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “July has been an unnecessarily tough month for drivers due to the big four supermarkets’ unwillingness to cut their prices to a more a reasonable level, reflecting the consistent and significant reductions in the wholesale cost of petrol and diesel.

“As it was, we saw independent retailers leading the charge with fairer pump prices appearing all around the country which eventually forced the supermarkets to finally implement a more substantial cut late last Friday afternoon.

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“What ought to have happened is that the biggest retailers cut their prices more significantly on a daily basis, given the wholesale price of petrol has fallen steadily over the last eight weeks.”

Mr Williams advised drivers that they should no longer assume supermarkets are the cheapest places to get fuel.

He said motorists should “shop around as it’s highly likely you’ll find an independent retailer which is doing the right thing and fairly reflecting their lower wholesale costs by charging a lower price”.

He added: “This is really encouraging because the independents buy new stock less frequently than the supermarkets as they don’t sell as much, and consequently aren’t as well positioned as their rivals to be able to snap up fuel at lower prices when there are sudden market drops.”

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said: “We are committed to offering motorists great value and over the weekend we lowered the price of petrol and diesel across our forecourts. We price locally and competitively.”

Meanwhile, Morrisons said it has cut the cost of unleaded and diesel by an average of six pence a litre over the last week at all of its UK forecourts.

The retailer added it is passing on recent reductions in wholesale fuel prices directly to customers to reduce the cost of motoring.

Andrew Ball, Fuel Operations Manager at Morrisons, said: "It's the summer holidays and we know how tough the current cost of living is for our customers.

"So we hope this fuel price reduction will help motorists to save money at this challenging time."

ITV News has approached Tesco and Asda for comment.