Christmas fuel prices most expensive ever as drivers ‘heartlessly’ overcharged at the pumps

Retailers urged to cut prices as average fills ups now between £4 and £15 more expensive despite falling costs for filling stations

Drivers face the highest ever festive fuel prices this year, according to new data.

Petrol and diesel are both currently at record levels for the festive period, with the RAC claiming drivers are being “heartlessly overcharged” by as much as 13p per litre by retailers.

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According to its data, petrol is an average of 7p per litre more expensive than last December even though the wholesale price is now the same as it was 12 months ago. Diesel remains 27p per litre more expensive despite wholesale prices being just 14p more than they were last year.

An average petrol fill up is now £4 more expensive while a full tank of diesel is almost £15 more. With millions of motorists set to embark on journeys over the coming week, the RAC has urged the UK’s biggest retailers to cut their prices at the pumps rather than taking bigger profits.

It also pointed out that the 5p per litre fuel duty reduction introduced in March remains in place, meaning costs should be even lower. It estimates that the average price of petrol should be around 138p – 15p cheaper than it actually is, and that diesel should be around 160p a litre – 13p cheaper than it is now.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “With the cost-of-living crisis making this one of the toughest Christmases on record, it is even more galling to know drivers are being heartlessly overcharged for fuel making this the most expensive ever festive getaway on the roads.

“The big four supermarkets, which dominate UK fuel retailing, have robustly refused to significantly lower their forecourt prices to reflect what’s happened with the substantial reduction in the price of wholesale fuel that they are enjoying.”

Mr Williams said the UK was now in the “bizarre” situation where smaller independent filling stations - traditionally more expensive than supermarkets - were charging far less for fuel. He urged drivers to no longer assume that their local supermarket was the cheapest place for petrol but to shop around.

He added: “We urge the supermarkets to properly cut their petrol and diesel prices to give drivers the Christmas present they deserve. Sadly though, having seen a similar situation last year where the biggest retailers failed to pass on much lower wholesale costs, we’re not holding out much hope they will do the right thing this year.”

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