Drivers of diesel vehicles are paying 20p per litre more for their fuel than petrol owners, despite little difference in the price retailers pay for the two fuels.
New figures from the RAC show that retailers are enjoying more than double the profit margin on diesel as they continue to charge far more despite a narrowing gap in wholesale costs. The motoring group is now urging filling station bosses to cut prices to stop diesel drivers subsidising petrol prices.
According to the latest fuel prices, wholesale costs for petrol are just under 6p per litre cheaper than for diesel but the price gap at the pumps is 20p per litre. Last week, an average litre of diesel was 168p, compared with just 148p for petrol.
The RAC’s Simon Williams said that if pump prices were brought in line with wholesale costs, diesel drivers could be saving around £7 per tank, paying around 155p per litre.
Williams commented: “While our data shows petrol is generally being sold at a fair price at forecourts at the moment, drivers of the country’s 12 million diesel cars – as well as almost every white van driver – have every right to feel hard done by as they’re paying a huge premium for the fuel which in no way reflects its lower wholesale cost.
“For nearly a month, the gap between wholesale petrol and diesel prices has been less than 10p a litre and in recent days it has reduced to just 3.5p, yet average diesel prices at the pumps remain stubbornly high having fallen by only 2p since the start of February. The fact membership-only retailer Costco has been able to cut the average price of a litre of diesel by a massive 4p this week shows what’s possible, but we badly need other fuel retailers to treat drivers of diesel vehicles fairly.”
The price gap between petrol and diesel has grown massively over the last year as supply issues - largely due to the war in Ukraine - have pushed up the price of diesel. Prices have dropped from the all-time high of £1.99 per litre in July 2022 but have fallen more slowly than petrol prices.
Williams added: “Even though the price of diesel is not being cut as quickly as it should be, the gap between the average prices of petrol and diesel has dropped to under 20p [19.99p] for the first time since 10 October 2022. If retailers now do the right thing this should reduce significantly, saving drivers who rely on diesel a lot of money every time they fill up.”