Stratford petrol prices - are drivers being charged too much for fuel?
DEMANDS are being made for fairer fuel prices in Stratford after it emerged drivers are paying up to 14 pence more for a litre of unleaded petrol when compared with areas nearby.
Lower wholesale prices for petrol and diesel have been seen over the last few weeks, but those savings have not been passed onto drivers across the country while the prices at the pumps in Stratford look to be artificially high.
The most expensive petrol in Stratford is found on the forecourts of both Shell garages in the town – 149.9p for a litre of unleaded – but head further north and one litre costs 135.7p at the Murco garage, Beoley, and 136.7p at Harvest Energy in Studley.
Last week the RAC accused petrol retailers of taking advantage of customers. It says petrol prices dropped by 2p per litre over a month but claims drivers should have seen a roughly 12p reduction. RAC fuel watch figures suggest prices for unleaded should be nearer to 135p and diesel 142p per litre.
Stratford’s prices are much higher, even when comparing the same retailer’s prices in other areas.
A comparison of Tesco prices for both unleaded and diesel revealed:
- Stratford 144.9p (unleaded) 147.9p (diesel)
- Redditch 137.9p (unleaded) 142.9p (diesel)
- Warwick 141.9p (unleaded) 145.9p (diesel)
The Herald is calling for a fairer fuel deal for Stratford’s motorists with many household budgets already under pressure because of rising food prices and the large increases in charges for fuel to heat homes.
Former BBC Top Gear presenter and Stratford resident, Quentin Willson, said there was a problem with greedy retailers.
“The 14 pence differentiation in Stratford compared with elsewhere shows petrol retailers are making hay out of the pandemic with people filling up in the town rather than shopping around for the best deal,” he told the Herald. “The price of oil has gone down but greedy retailers and oil barons and those in Russia and the UAE continue to reap the benefits, but it’s the fuel duty that puts a huge hole in a person’s income and disables the poorest in the community, meanwhile the cartels just get away with it.
“I campaigned for Fair Fuel UK and we proved that reducing the fuel duty put an extra £100 billion back into the economy over ten years.
“This is the most expensive period of motoring in the entire history of the car and there’s no reason for it. Perhaps the answer is to own an electric car.”
AA spokesperson, Luke Bosdet, agreed that Stratford motorists were being overcharged to fill their cars.
“It used to be some of the best deals could be found at supermarkets but there’s no competition and no pressure on them to bring prices down like previously,” he explained. “The omicron virus has also left drivers hostages to pump prices as they have to work from home and fill up locally whereas it would be cheaper for them to do so in Leamington.
“A litre of unleaded at Tesco in Stratford costs 144.9p but at Tesco in Belfast it costs 135.9p and that’s because Northern Ireland has a very aggressive consumer watchdog monitoring petrol so prices remain fairer.”
One of the cheapest places for petrol is at VVS Services Murco garage at Beoley (135.7p). Owner Velautham Sarveswaran said his family-run business has always put customers first.
“Supermarkets aren’t bringing their prices down but we want to be the cheapest so we work in set margins and are not greedy,” he said. “Customers know they will get cheaper fuel here and that’s why we have very loyal customers because we’ve established a reputation over seven years for cheaper petrol.”
One of the biggest players in the global market is Shell. It issued a statement to the Herald saying:
- Around two-thirds of the cost of a litre of fuel goes to the British government in the form of fuel duty and Value Added Tax (VAT).
- Fuel duty in the UK is set at 57.95 pence per litre, regardless of petrol and diesel prices. On top of that is the addition of 20 per cent Value Added Tax.
- We price our fuel in line with market conditions.
- Shell is only able to control prices at the sites we own; around half of our UK network is owned by independent dealers, who set their own prices.
- Shell is prevented by law from telling dealer groups what to charge their customers for fuel.
Herald readers wanting a fairer deal for their fuel are urged to write to the newspaper – email firstname.lastname@example.org – as we will be talking with the retailers, including the supermarkets, over the next few weeks to try to bring down the price at the pump.