Supermarkets accused of hiking petrol and diesel prices as lockdown hits

MORRISONS, Sainsbury's and Tesco have been accused of hiking fuel prices "well above" wholesale costs, according to the RAC.

On average, the three supermarkets hiked prices by 3p per litre in December despite wholesale prices rising by a penny per litre.

The RAC tracks fuel prices at supermarkets, chains and independent forecourts across the UK.

It found the price rises at supermarkets pushed the average costs of fuel up by 2p a litre last month, twice as much as wholesale prices.

A litre of unleaded petrol went up by 1.28p, from 85.76p to 87.04p, and diesel rose by 1.11p, from 88.33p to 89.44p.

Of the four big supermarkets who sell fuel – Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco -only Asda matched the wholesale market price by raising costs by around 1.5p a litre, RAC said.

Ways to cut down on your fuel costs

HERE are some tips on how you can slash the cost of fuel.

  1. Make your car more fuel-efficient. You can do this by keeping your tyres inflated, taking the roof rack off, emptying your car of clutter and turning off your air con when driving at lower speeds.
  2. Find the cheapest fuel prices. and allows you to search prices of UK petrol stations. All you need to do is enter in your postcode and tell it how far you want to travel (up to 20 miles).
  3. Drive more efficiently. Some ways to do this, include:
  • Accelerate gradually without over-revving
  • Always drive on the highest possible gear
  • If you can, allow your car to slow down naturally as your brake is a money burner
  • Re-starting your car is expensive, if you can keep moving

Asda was selling the cheapest fuel at the close of December, when a litre of unleaded cost 110.11p, up 1.31p from 108.8p.

Meanwhile, diesel cost 113.4p, up 1.45p from 111.88p.

Sainsbury’s had the second lowest fuel prices, according to the RAC, with petrol 1.5p dearer and diesel 1.38p more expensive than Asda's prices.

Overall, the average price of petrol went up from 114.39p to 116.46p, and diesel rose from 117.72p to 120p.

Drivers in the East of England saw the biggest jump in unleaded prices, up 2.58p, and those in the South West saw the largest increase in diesel prices, up 2.67p.

But RAC believes drivers should in fact be paying around 113p for petrol and 118p for diesel, based on wholesale prices from two weeks ago.

Filling up at a supermarket will still cost you less than an independent garage, however, where it was 4p cheaper for a litre of unleaded and nearly 4.5p less for diesel.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “It’s very disappointing to see some of our biggest fuel retailers putting up their prices over and above the increases seen on the wholesale market. 

“There’s a definite feeling that they have been trying to protect themselves for what was to come in terms of further coronavirus restrictions.”

He added: “Unfortunately, those who still need to fill up regularly are having to pay more than they should be as, by our calculations, both fuels should actually come down by 3p a litre in the next fortnight.”

Sainsbury's, Tesco, Morrisons and Asda have been contacted for comment.

Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s customers have also claimed that delivery slots are “running out” as England enters into a third national lockdown.

 And panic buyers have already started to strip shelves of loo roll, fresh vegetables and rice again following the fresh shutdown.

Asda has also announced some important changes in response to the latest coronavirus lockdown which you can check out here.

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