Cars driving through a tunnel

RAC calls for equality at the pumps

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The RAC has slammed the high cost of diesel compared to petrol, saying that pump prices don't reflect the fact that its wholesale price was cheaper than petrol in June, Fleet News reports.
Research by the RAC shows that despite lower wholesale prices, diesel drivers are still paying 3p a litre more at the pumps.

In its Fuel Watch report for June, the firm found that wholesale prices of diesel are 1p to 3p a litre lower than petrol. So it's surprising that the average price of diesel is 120p per litre (ppl), compared to 117ppl for petrol, it said.

Most retailers continue to retain a disproportionate gap between the two fuels – often diesel can be up to 5ppl more costly. Some have closed the price gap on the forecourt, but very few (if any) have lowered the price of diesel to below that of petrol.

This could be due to wafer-thin margins on petrol leading to retailers trading this off against bigger margins on diesel to balance the books, the automotive services firm suggested.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said that 2.4 billion litres of diesel was sold in May, compared to 1.5 billion litres of petrol. While there are twice as many petrol cars on the road, diesel usage is on the rise for both businesses and individuals – yet diesel drivers are still being demonised, he added.

"Motorists deserve to be treated fairly and that means forecourt prices that reflect the wholesale market," Williams commented. "Essentially, what is required is a fundamental re-balance of pricing in the retail fuel market. We need greater transparency and a fairer pricing model for both petrol and diesel."

The price of diesel should drop by around 5p a litre in the next two weeks based on lower wholesale prices, but there's little chance of this given the situation in June, said the firm.

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