Petrol retailers fail to pass on price cuts
Wholesale petrol prices have fallen by an average 2p per litre yet UK drivers are still paying the highest prices on record, according to the AA.
Wholesale prices have fallen to 39p since January 11 but the price at the pumps is on the rise. The average price of a litre is now 128.6p, up from 127.21p on January 4 – the day of the VAT rise. As a result it now costs more than £70 to fill a 55-litre tank.
The figures suggest retailers are profiteering by not passing on cuts to consumers.
To further enrage drivers, prices fell in Germany, France, Ireland, Holland, Spain, Belgium and Denmark as retailers shared the lower cost of fuel with consumers.
"We understand that prices remain volatile, but hope that retailers will pass on savings when they can," says Edmund King, the AA's president.
"Record pump prices are further evidence that the Chancellor must act to at least freeze duty and consider a price stabiliser."
The news comes as research from The Nielsen Company revealed consumer confidence is falling with fuel prices one of the biggest concerns among the UK public.
How to be more fuel-efficient
The RAC says drivers can reduce their fuel consumption and so save money at the pumps by following these steps:
1 Stick to the speed limits
Driving with a heavy right foot is not only less safe, but also forces your car's engine to work harder, using more fuel.
2 Leave the air con off
Air conditioning is standard in many modern cars but frequent use of your air con can eat up fuel.
3 Try and avoid sudden braking and acceleration
Sharp braking and accelerating can speed up your car's wear and tear. It can also mean you use up to 30% more fuel, so save money by reading the road ahead.
4 Keep tyres inflated correctly
Over time, your car tyres will naturally leak a bit of air. To improve fuel consumption by up to 2%, check your tyre pressures regularly and keep them pumped up to the correct pressure.
5 Buy a newer car
Splashing out may seem a strange way to save money, but modern cars are more fuel-efficient than older ones. A typical new £10,000 car could save you around £12 a week in fuel bills.
6 Get your car serviced regularly
Regular maintenance and servicing improves the efficiency of your car which can improve your fuel consumption.
7 Take eco-driver training
By far the biggest influence on fuel consumption is driving style. Just a few tweaks could really make a big difference to how efficiently you drive. Why not enrol on an eco-driving course to learn how to drive economically.
8 Don't carry unnecessary loads
You car was designed to be as aerodynamic as possible, so take that roof rack or roof box off when you're not using it. An empty car will use less fuel than one with half a ton of tools in the boot for your overworked engine to lug around.
9 Travel at off-peak times
Being stuck in traffic jams uses a lot of fuel. If you can, try to travel when the roads are at their least busy. Not having to keep stopping and starting is better for your stress levels too.
10 Plan your journey
Getting lost isn't much fun and driving around aimlessly wastes fuel. Why not invest in a sat nav or use an online before you travel, for maximum fuel efficiency.
Invented by a Frenchman in 1954 and ironically introduced in the UK on 1 April 1973, VAT is an indirect tax levied on the value added in the production of goods and services, from primary production to final consumption and is paid by the buyer. Its levying is complex, with a number of exemptions and exclusions. For example, in the UK, VAT is payable on chocolate-covered biscuits, but not on chocolate-covered cakes and the non-VAT status of McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes was challenged in a UK court case to determine whether Jaffa Cake was a cake or a biscuit. The judge ruled that the Jaffa Cake is a cake, McVitie’s won the case and VAT is not paid on Jaffa Cakes in the UK.