AA: Rural areas suffer most as supermarkets hike fuel prices

Rural areas have been hit hardest by the rising price of fuel, as supermarkets are accused of overcharging customers at forecourts.

Automobile company The AA revealed that drivers in rural areas were paying between 10p and 15p a litre more on average for supermarket petrol – despite scrutiny from MPs and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The motoring group added that many drivers in rural areas were paying roughly 145p a litre for fuel, compared with 135p or less in bigger towns and cities.

According to The Guardian, the cost of petrol reached 149.13p a litre on Sunday, the highest level since February.

Meanwhile, the cost of diesel hit 150p a litre for the first time since May, which the AA blamed on global production cuts in Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Last month, the energy secretary Grant Shapps met executives from Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s – as well as from the fuel providers BP, Shell and Esso – in an attempt to force supermarkets to make fuel prices more transparent.

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The AA’s spokesperson on pump prices, Luke Bosdet, told The Guardian: “Despite the government and CMA taking the supermarkets to task for over-charging drivers for fuel, this past weekend still showed major differences in supermarket pump prices around the country.

“Bad habits are proving hard to shake off among the UK’s fuel retailers and that is not solely the fault of the supermarkets.”

He added: “Over the decades, a supermarket policy of shaving a penny or two off what other local fuel stations charge has stunted competition within those higher-priced communities; oil company-branded forecourts could have undercut those expensive supermarkets but they were happy to play along.”

Earlier this month, Asda began publishing fuel prices at its forecourts online, becoming the first retailer to launch such a service.



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