'Greedy' wholesalers criticised amid rising petrol prices across region

Drivers were left facing rising prices as the fuel shortage crisis continued across the region, with some wholesalers criticised for "pure opportunist greed".

Motorists have continued to queue at stations as average prices for unleaded and diesel have begun to rise amid the ongoing shortage.

The average price of a litre of unleaded fuel rose from 134.86p per litre on September 20 to 135.19p per litre on September 27, amid the fuel shortage at filling stations.

The figures from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy show the average price of a litre of diesel rose from 137.35p to 137.95p over the same period.

Some petrol stations around the region have been criticised for inflating prices, with one station in Wolverhampton briefly offering unleaded for 149.9p and diesel for 155.9p, while another in Wednesbury was charging 154.9p for unleaded and 156.9p for diesel.

Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK Campaign, said the rise in prices has been because of scaremongering messages from the Government and criticised fuel supply chain wholesalers for high prices.

He said: "We are seeing pump prices rising 7 to 10p on average and many garages increasing prices on fuel they have already paid for at old prices, which is pure opportunist greed.

"There is now fuel rationing causing more conflict at the pumps that will last 7 to 10 days and the Army could help, but 5,000 driver visas from the EU will be a raindrop in an ocean.

"Regrettably, we are now seeing agitated drivers outside garages, determined to make sure their vehicles are filled to the brim, with one garage sending me a till receipt that amounted to a top up of just 90p.

"Several garages have contacted FairFuelUK in confidence, saying their greedy wholesalers are pushing up bulk supply prices, not based on oil costs, but because of this latest panic demand.

"Drivers impacted most are almost certainly small, self-employed businesses, taxis and the small to medium sized logistics companies, who don’t have in-house bunker fuel to fulfil their needs.

"Rural garages and self-employed drivers are being hurt too, together with carers and those needing to visit medical facilities on a routine basis.

"Oil companies will prioritise high profit margin forecourts such as motorway services and their directly owned garages, as that approach is the most profitable for them.

"The greedy fuel supply chain wholesalers will continue to hike their prices on independent small, franchised garages, who will also be last to be bulk supplied.

"The perfect storm of Covid, Brexit and unchecked fuel pricing has given the Government excuses for the current situation.

"They must own up to their economically damaging inept crisis management and stop blaming the Road Haulage Association for causing the fuel supply crisis.

"That is purely a smokescreen for their ineptitude and ill-informed long-term road user policies."

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: "When it comes to pump prices, it’s a pretty bleak picture for drivers.

"With the cost of oil rising and now near a three-year high, wholesale prices are being forced up which means retailers are paying more than they were just a few days ago for the same amount of fuel.

"This has led to the price of a litre of unleaded already going up by a penny since Friday.

"We might yet see higher forecourt prices in the coming days, irrespective of the current supply problems.

"We are also aware of a small number of retailers taking advantage of the current delivery situation by hiking prices, so we’d remind drivers to always compare the price they’re being asked to pay with the current UK averages which are 136.69p for petrol and 138.58p for diesel."

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