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Three of the UK’s leading supermarkets, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco have cut petrol prices this week to deliver some welcome relief to motorists planning a bank holiday getaway. Petrol prices have been cut by up to 2 pence per litre and diesel by 1 pence.
Asda announced on Monday it would be cutting its prices from Tuesday, capping its petrol and its 234 forecourts to no more than 124.7p per like and diesel at 128.7p – its lowest prices since January 2011.
In response, Tesco and Sainsbury’s made price cuts of their own, however neither company has matched Asda’s national price cap.
Although supermarkets are usually able to offer better price cuts on petrol prices than smaller independent retailers, the AA’s head of public affairs, Paul Watters, said the latest move has in fact been spurred on my some independents.
“We have seen competitive independent retailers east of London selling petrol as low as 125.9p a litre recently, which heralded a more general move by Asda,” he said.
“With its national pricing policy, that lower pricing will be spread to drivers across the UK and will spur other retailers to follow.”
According to the AA, the average price of petrol across the UK on Monday was 129.71p a litre and diesel 133.74p, the lowest since February 2011.
The price cuts follow sustained falls in the oil price since mid-June. Analysts at Commerzbank have said the oil price is “unlikely” to see an imminent increase as supplies out of Libya were increasing further.
Mr Watters of the AA has cited depressed demand as a major influence on the decrease in petrol prices as families in the UK, Europe and the US continue to struggle with family finances.
He said: “Although pump price movements have been relatively benign this year, the trauma of price spikes from 2011 into 2013 continues to haunt drivers.”
RAC fuel spokesman Pete Williams said: “We’ve been calling for petrol and diesel prices to fall for some time following the decrease in wholesale prices and so this is a welcome move by the supermarkets.
“We would expect to see other retailers to follow in the coming days giving consumers a great opportunity to fuel up ahead of the bank holiday.”