The price of diesel fell by nearly 4p a litre in April but still remains at least 16p more expensive than it should be as it’s now 6p cheaper than petrol on the wholesale market, according to data from RAC Fuel Watch.
A litre of diesel closed the month costing drivers an average of 159.43p across UK forecourts while petrol was unchanged at 146.5p.
This is the sixth month that the average pump price of diesel has fallen, but despite this the RAC knows drivers are losing out because the wholesale price of the fuel was cheaper than petrol for all of April.
A litre of wholesale diesel cost 104.88p on 28 April – down 9p in the month – whereas unleaded was 111.25p (down 6p in April). However, apart from in Northern Ireland where diesel averages 147.47p, diesel in the rest of the UK is still 13p more expensive on the forecourt. The RAC believes drivers should really be paying around 143p at the very most for a litre of diesel.
The cost of filling a 55-litre family car with petrol now stands at £80.60. The diesel equivalent is £87.69. If diesel was being sold at the fairer price of 143p it would save drivers a staggering £9 a tank.
At the end of April the average price of unleaded at one of the big four supermarkets was 142.99p – 3.5p cheaper than the UK average. Diesel was 2.75p cheaper than the average at 156.68p – down 3p since the start of the month.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said, “Diesel drivers across the UK mainland continue to lose out badly at the pumps. They’re paying 13p a litre more for the fuel than petrol, despite diesel being cheaper for retailers to buy on the wholesale market for all of April.
“This just isn’t fair for the country’s 12m diesel car drivers. We feel there should be an obligation on retailers to reflect wholesale price movements on their forecourts. Sadly, the only place this seems to happen is in Northern Ireland where a litre of diesel is, incredibly, being sold for 12p less than the UK-wide average.”
He added, “Our data shows that the average retailer margin on a litre of diesel is a shocking 22p a litre compared to petrol which is around 8p. The long-term averages for both fuels is 7p which means retailers are making three times what they have in the past for diesel. This is hard for them to justify and equally hard for diesel drivers to swallow.
“Action at a government level is badly needed to stop drivers being ripped off any longer. While we’re not in favour of prices being capped – as we feel this could lead to smaller retailers in rural areas not being able to compete and going out of business to the detriment of the communities they serve – we feel there should be an obligation on the biggest retailers to charge fairer prices in relation to wholesale market movements.”