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Drivers ‘taken for fools’ as fuel prices rise for 38th straight day, despite falling wholesale costs

·2-min read
Fuel prices have been described as ‘pump fiction’ as they fail to reflect wholesale prices (PA)
Fuel prices have been described as ‘pump fiction’ as they fail to reflect wholesale prices (PA)

Drivers are being “taken for fools” by fuel retailers, according to the AA, as petrol and diesel prices rose for the 38th day in a row – despite falling wholesale costs.

While oil prices on global markets have fallen back from recent highs, the pump price of diesel edged closer to breaking the £2-per-litre barrier for the first time.

Petrol is now at 191.2p a litre, while diesel is 199p, the AA said.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “Drivers are being taken for fools by retailers as the cost of fuel continues its worryingly upward trend.”

The RAC labelled recent price rises ”inexplicable”.

“We can see absolutely no rhyme or reason why average forecourt prices are still going up, given that the wholesale price of both fuels has been falling for weeks,” said RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams.

“Drivers up and down the country have a right to know why they’re having to pay what they are for fuel, when the costs to retailers right now are so much less than they were a few weeks ago.”

Next Thursday, the competition watchdog is due to announce the results of its probe into prices at petrol forecourts.

It was ordered by business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, to urgently investigate competition in the market and give advice on how to ensure a better outcome for consumers.

Reports that Rishi Sunak is considering another cut to fuel duty were welcomed by motoring groups on Wednesday. The Treasury has received a windfall from increased tax revenues thanks to high fuel and energy prices.

The chancellor said this week that he had not ruled out a “more substantial” cut in fuel duty than the 5p reduction that has already been implemented.

“A cut to the price of forecourt fuel really can’t come soon enough,” said Mr Williams.

“If it’s a further fuel duty cut that the chancellor decides on, it’s absolutely vital that this is passed on in full immediately by retailers to give drivers some respite from these historic high prices.

“It’s also vital the government monitors the wholesale market and closely scrutinises retailer margins.”

There may be further bad news in store however as oil prices have begun to tick up on Wednesday after two weeks of declines. Brent crude, the main international benchmark, rose 1 per cent to $119 per barrel after G7 leaders signalled their intention to further restrict shipments of Russian oil products.

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