UK petrol retailers accused of ripping off motorists

UK petrol prices should be falling
and not rising steadily, according to a new report by the AA.

The motoring organisation says the
wholesale cost of petrol has fallen over the last month.

At the end of December it was £524
per tonne but by the end of January the price had dropped to £505.

The AA says the average price of
unleaded at the pump is a record 128.62p per litre – the fifth highest in
Europe.

AA president Edmund King wants the
government to consider introducing a price stabiliser.

“We understand prices remain
volatile, but hope retailers will pass on savings when they can,” he said.

The AA says it believes petrol
stations are trying to compensate for lower than expected sales in the run-up
to Christmas.

But the Petrol Retailers
Association has defended the level of prices, saying its members have been
“suffering terribly”.

He said: “Forecourts are
closing at the rate of around 400 per year with smaller, but socially vital,
rural sites most at risk.

“Attempts to deflect the
impact of relentless government tax hikes by suggesting that retailers are
‘profiteering’ are ludicrous.”

The row comes as Chancellor George
Osborne comes under growing pressure to freeze the 1p fuel duty rise due to
take effect on 1 April.

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