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Fuel retailers accused of profiteering as UK petrol prices hit record

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Fuel retailers have faced accusations of profiteering as petrol prices hit new highs despite easing wholesale costs.

Unleaded petrol reached a fresh record of 191.05p a litre on Sunday, while diesel hit new highs of 199.09p on Saturday, meaning a 55-litre family car would cost £109.42 to fill up.

The price rises will intensify the debate around pricing at the forecourts while Britons battle the cost of living crisis.

Fuel price chart

Retailers have been accused of not passing on a 5p cut in fuel duty, announced in Rishi Sunak’s spring statement in March, to consumers. The Competition and Markets Authority is investigating the matter and is due to report back on 7 July.

Fuel prices had been pushed up as oil soared after Russia invaded Ukraine, but prices of the commodity have eased off in recent weeks amid increasing fears over a global recession.

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The RAC fuel spokesperson, Simon Williams, said: “We are struggling to see how retailers can justify continuing to put up their unleaded prices as the wholesale cost of petrol has reduced significantly.

“This is sadly a classic example of ‘rocket and feather’ pricing in action, and one which the Competition and Markets Authority will no doubt be looking at very closely. It seems as if retailers are making matters worse for themselves by not lowering their forecourt prices despite having a clear opportunity to do so.”

Williams said retailers may be “protecting profits” in case wholesale costs soar again.

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Retailers have argued that they only make a few pence a litre, that oil refineries are making greater margins and that a weaker pound against the dollar is also pushing up costs.

Howard Cox, the founder of the FairFuelUK Campaign, said: “I don’t think it’s fair to blanket all retailers together.

“There are certainly some of the big branded retailers who are unscrupulous but there are many independents who are making a few pence a litre. The role of the refineries has to be looked at and I just hope the CMA has the teeth on this one.”

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