Despite the wholesale price of diesel being cheaper than petrol for all of June motorists are still paying 3p a litre more at the pumps.
The RAC’s Fuel Watch report for June shows the price of diesel has become the ‘elephant in the room’ with wholesale prices 1p to 3p a litre lower than petrol yet the average price of a litre of diesel is 120p, compared to 117p for petrol.
While some retailers have closed the gap between petrol and diesel on the forecourt, more closely reflecting wholesale prices, very few – if any – have moved their diesel price below petrol. In fact, the vast majority of retailers continue to keep a significant gap between the two fuels with diesel often 5p a litre more expensive. The latter group may be operating on wafer thin margins on petrol in order to remain competitive and trading this off against bigger margins on diesel in order to balance the books.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “The retail price of diesel has almost become a taboo subject despite 2.4bn litres being sold in May, compared to just 1.5bn litres of petrol. While there are twice as many petrol cars on the road, the increase in diesel usage shown in government statistics and the new car sales figures which show more than 50% of cars and light commercial vehicles leaving the showroom are powered by diesel, confirm that we are increasingly relying on diesel for both business and private use.
“Not only are diesel drivers now being demonised due to the increasing concerns over harmful nitrogen dioxide and particulate emissions, they are consistently having to pay a premium for their fuel. And, all this comes after years in which the taxation system has encouraged motorists to buy low carbon dioxide emitting vehicles. This has led to a big take-up of small fuel efficient diesel vehicles by motorists believing their choice of vehicle was good for the environment as well as their pocket.
“While retailers are obviously free to choose how much they charge for petrol and diesel, we believe that motorists deserve to be treated fairly and that means forecourt prices that reflect the wholesale market.”