Supermarkets spark fuel price war ahead of the festive season

The four major supermarkets in the UK have dropped fuel prices ahead of the Christmas period

 

Four major supermarkets have slashed prices at the pumps by up to 3%, leading to a supermarket price war as the government faces calls to freeze fuel duty in the upcoming Autumn Statement, to be published on November 23.

The apparent petrol price war was ignited by Asda, fuelling rumours that the price cutting would last throughout the Christmas period – a welcome gift for motorists during the season of overspending (and overeating).

Supermarkets spark fuel price war ahead of the Christmas season

Asda first to lower fuel prices © Copyright Mike Kirby and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

 

Asda announced its intentions earlier this week when the supermarket said it would be introducing a national price cap of 110.7ppl for unleaded and 112.7ppl for diesel at all of its nationwide petrol stations.

The Senior Director for Fuel at Asda, Andy Peake, commented: “Asda is once again leading the way in reducing the price at the pumps to help the millions of motorists across the UK.”

Mr Peake’s subtle one-upmanship was aimed at Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, all of whom jumped on the bandwagon and announced their own fuel price drops in the days following Asda’s announcement.

While all three of Asda’s major rivals have since implemented price drops of up to 3ppl at the pumps, only Tesco has done so at all 500 of its petrol stations. Sainsbury’s have introduced the change at 303 of its forecourts, while Morrisons has at 303 of its filling stations, where the prices will vary according to region.

Before this week’s price war, drivers were paying 116.6ppl for petrol and 119ppl for diesel, the highest average fuel prices being charged in the UK since July 2015, according to official government figures.

The Brexit vote has caused fuel prices to increase further in the months since the June referendum. However, oil prices have been decreasing since October, according to RAC spokesperson Simon Williams, who said the supermarket price war has come “far too late” and would lead to consumer mistrust.

Mr Williams added: “Retailers should have reduced their prices then (in October) rather than making one bigger headline-grabbing cut now.”

However, AA president Edmund King was not so critical of the fuel retailers, and instead warned of “yo-yo oil prices,” which could result in the current price war being cut cruelly short.

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