Soaring Forecourt Prices Are ‘Artificially Inflated’ By Petrol Retailers - UK Motorists Organisation
Amid soaring forecourt prices, the UK Petrol Retailers Association said on 20 October that fuel price records will “almost certain to be eclipsed” before the end of October, claiming the surge was chiefly being driven by the “rise and rise of crude oil costs”.
The sky-rocketing petrol prices that retailers claim are “primarily” driven by rising oil prices are being artificially inflated, according to the AA, a British motoring organisation which was cited by Sky News.
As average petrol pump prices moved within a fraction of 1p of the record on Thursday, reaching 142.16p per litre, according to Experian Catalyst, the AA claimed that increases in the wholesale cost of diesel were being "loaded on to petrol".
April 2012 had witnessed the highest price recorded - 142.48p. On 21 October, average diesel prices were at 145.68p. The cost of fuel has been surging throughout the month.
© AP Photo / Frank AugsteinFILE - In this Sept. 30, 2021, file photo, fuel pumps are marked out of use at a petrol station in London. Britain is experiencing empty gas pumps, worker shortages and gaps on store shelves
FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2021, file photo, fuel pumps are marked out of use at a petrol station in London. Britain is experiencing empty gas pumps, worker shortages and gaps on store shelves
© AP Photo / Frank Augstein
Furthermore, a shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers triggered panic-buying at petrol stations in September that resulted in filling stations across the country running out of fuel. The fallout from the fuel crisis is still being felt, as almost two in five drivers were unable to buy fuel over the past fortnight, according to an Office for National Statistics survey carried out between 6 and 17 October.
"The AA recognises that there is probably still turmoil in the fuel trade after the panic buying, and that may well have disrupted diesel contracts. It also understands that it is basic commerce for a retailer to load more profit on to some items than others,” the AA's fuel spokesman Luke Bosdet was cited as saying.
The AA’s fuel price spokesperson weighed in on the statements made by the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) on 20 October.
“…For the petrol retailers to state that the rise in petrol prices, and likely a new record, is completely down to circumstances beyond their control just doesn't ring true and has to be challenged.”
On Wednesday, the Petrol Retailers Association warned motorists in the UK that fuel price records were “almost certain to be eclipsed” before the end of next week, blaming the “rise and rise of crude oil costs”.
While the nation's motorists’ organisations conceded the fact that global oil markets were taking their toll, they accused petrol station owners of using the price surges as an excuse to hide their own role in spiralling costs.
The fuel spokesperson for British automotive services company RAC, Simon Williams, acknowledged that fuel prices seemed to be on an “unavoidable journey” towards record highs. However, while agreeing with the forecourt owners that the oil price was “primarily” behind extra costs, he claimed that petrol retailers were “taking a bigger cut on petrol than they normally do at around 8p a litre which is a further blow to drivers”. Williams added:
“We strongly urge retailers not to contribute further to the pump price rise.”