Fuel firms accused of unjustifiable delays to petrol price cuts

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RAC says retailers are wreaking havoc on drivers by ignoring the “clear opportunity” to pass on wholesale cost cuts

Britain’s fuel dealers have been accused of delaying price cuts at the pump and dumping millions of motorists in a “classic example” of rocket and feather prices.

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Gasoline and diesel prices have continued to rise over the past week despite a fall in wholesale prices paid by fuel companies.

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The RAC said the recent wholesale drop has given retailers a “clear opportunity” to lower their prices and ease the pressure on drivers who ignored them to protect their profits.

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The average price of petrol topped £1.90 a liter over the weekend, reaching 191.05p on Sunday 27 June, according to data firm Experian.

The RAC has accused retailers of “rocket-and-feather” pricing tactics (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Williams also said the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) would “undoubtedly” scrutinize retailers’ willingness to raise prices sharply when wholesale costs rise, but refuse to pass on reductions to the same extent – the so-called rocket and feather approach to pricing.

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Mr Williams said: “We are struggling to see how retailers can justify continuing to increase their unleaded prices as the wholesale cost of petrol has fallen significantly.

“Unfortunately, this is a classic example of ‘rocket and feather’ pricing in action and one that the Competition and Markets Authority will no doubt examine very closely.

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“It appears retailers are making things worse by not lowering their forecourt prices when they have a clear opportunity to do so.

“The only explanation for retailers’ resistance to price cuts is that they are protecting their profits if wholesale costs suddenly pick up again.

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“Ultimately, the longer they hold out, the more they benefit, and the longer the misery for motorists struggling with the high prices.”

He urged the government to “take urgent action on price transparency and lower tariffs.”

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