Diesel drivers getting ripped off, says RAC

Diesel drivers are being ripped off compared to the owners of petrol-fuelled cars, according to the RAC.

The motoring body says that it wants to pressure fuel stations into bringing prices more into line with those of petrol, to avoid drivers being “taken for a ride” by fuel retailers.

Drivers ‘taken for a ride’

Simon Williams, fuel spokesman for the RAC, said: “The gap between the wholesale price of diesel and petrol has narrowed to just 1p a litre, yet average forecourt prices are currently 6p a litre apart.

“With sales of diesel at such buoyant levels there is scope for a diesel price cut of around 4p a litre to restore some parity to the market and redress many retailers’ decision to subsidise the petrol price with savings in the cost of wholesale diesel.”

The RAC’s comments follow on from the release of official government figures, which showed that drivers bought 3.5 per cent more fuel last month than in February last year.

Totalling 2.42 billion litres of diesel in all, last month’s diesel sales were the fifth highest for diesel fuel since 1990, buoyed up by the cheaper price of crude oil, which should translate into cheaper fuel.

Despite the increase in sales, the RAC claims that drivers who rely on diesel, particularly companies who tend to use diesel vehicles more often, still aren’t seeing the savings that they should.

Mr Williams added: “Traditionally, business runs on diesel, and with sales of diesel at an all-time high the retailers have maintained a higher margin on diesel, perhaps to subsidise petrol sales.”

“While clearly some businesses with big, high mileage fleets buy their fuel ahead of time to manage their fuel spends in case of price fluctuations,” he added, “the prevailing view is that businesses are less price sensitive than consumers which possibly leads retailers to keep margins higher on diesel than petrol.”

Companies and drivers not seeing savings

He also noted that the pricing of petrol and diesel does vary between retailers, with some choosing to lower prices while others keep it inflated above the price point that it should be sitting at.

The RAC spokesman also said that as there’s evidence of an increase in journeys since pump prices fell late last year, it’s vital that diesel drivers should receive the same savings as petrol owners.

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