Calls for drivers to benefit from BP profits

28 October 2008

Petrol giant BP has come under pressure to pass on the benefits of cheaper fuel to drivers after announcing profits of £6.4 billion in the third quarter.

Record prices for crude oil helped BP achieve $10 billion, or £6.4 billion, profit between July and September – an increase of 148% from the same period last year.

However, during the same period, drivers were hit by high price hikes at the pump.

Crude oil has now fallen in price and while petrol costs at the pump have also come down, commentators say BP could do more to ease pressure on drivers.

In light of BP’s mammoth jump in profits, George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, said: “BP has absolutely no excuse for not passing on any fuel price falls to customers. It would be a scandal if it did not.”

Figures from the AA show that average petrol prices have now fallen to less than £1 a litre for the first time in almost a year. Competition between supermarkets has helped drive down the cost of filling up the tank, especially as 68% of drivers opt for a supermarket’s forecourt.

Edmund King, president of the AA, says this partly explains why the UK petrol price has fallen four times more quickly in the past fortnight than between mid-July and early October when only two of the major supermarkets chased prices down and the others matched local prices where they needed to.

"ASDA, and to some extent Morrisons, trail-blazed lower prices throughout the summer, but it took the size and the full participation of the others to produce the record falls in price seen over the past fortnight," he adds.

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