Big 4 grocers accused petrol profiteering as barrel price rises to $100

Supermarkets

Supermarkets are being urged not to hike up fuel prices as the cost of oil rises to nearly $100 a barrel, according to the RAC.

The move comes as the supermarket giants have raised profit margins on petrol over the last three months.

The cost of petrol, which has been the highest level since 2014, has seen a the cost of one barrel rise by 60% in the last year alone, costing around $60 in February 2021.

According to the RAC, the Big 4 grocers made an 8.6% margin on sales of unleaded petrol, compared to the 3.2% they made in 2019, pre-pandemic.

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The RAC attributes the price rise to the oil production demand continuing to fall behind, alongside recent tensions between the world’s third biggest oil producer, Ukraine and Russia.

However, the RAC believes hiking fuel prices during a difficult period for many consumers is not justified.

“With the price of oil now at a level not seen in more than seven years and a cost of living crisis mounting, we’re on a knife-edge when it comes to pump prices,” the RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said.

“On the face of it, the prospect of $100 a barrel oil is a frightening one but from a driver’s point of view it’s only going to spell bad news if major retailers decide to take bigger margins.

“At the moment, we can’t see any justification for a big leap in forecourt prices so we’re urging retailers to continue taking normal margins on each litre they sell. This will ensure drivers, many of whom depend on their vehicles, aren’t forced to pay even higher prices.”

The news comes as in October last year, prices at the petrol pumps reached an all-time high on Sunday, while diesel is still a little short of its previous record.

According to the data, the average UK price of petrol hit 142.94p a litre on Sunday, beating the former record, set in April 2012, by 0.46p.

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