Diesel drivers are not benefiting from the fuel duty freeze as retailers’ profit margins have soared, according to analysis.
The RAC said major fuel retailers are refusing to cut pump prices in “any meaningful way” despite wholesale diesel costs – the price they pay for fuel – falling to a 15-month low.
During the past four weeks, average wholesale prices have fallen by 10p per litre but this has yielded just a 3p-per-litre cut at the pumps, the motoring services company calculated.
Diesel is currently priced at an average of £1.66 per litre at UK forecourts.
Retailers are taking an average profit margin of nearly 19p for every litre they sell, compared with 9p last year, according to the RAC.
The company said this means this week’s extension of the Treasury’s 5p-per-litre cut in fuel duty is being “more than gobbled up by retailers”.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “The pricing tactics of major retailers mean that diesel drivers in particular – including those who work for millions of small businesses – are still getting a really miserable deal at the pumps, and effectively aren’t seeing any benefit from the 5p duty cut whatsoever.
“It feels like it’s retailers who are benefiting from the lower duty, and not motorists.
“We’re in a ridiculous situation where it would take just one major retailer to do the right thing and cut diesel prices to more sensible levels for a ripple effect to take place across the country’s forecourts, benefiting hard-up households everywhere.
“Instead, no retailer wants to blink first.”
Around 17.6 million vehicles licensed in the UK are diesel-powered, including the vast majority of vans.
They represent 43% of all vehicles on the road.