Supermarket chains Asda and Sainsbury’s have cut their fuel prices for the second time in three weeks, sparking hope of further reductions from rivals Tesco and Morrisons.
Both retail giants have cut the price of unleaded petrol by up to 2p per litre and diesel by up to 1p per litre across the UK.
Drivers filling up at one of Asda’s 322 forecourts will now pay no more than 117.7p per litre (ppl) for petrol and a maximum of 122.7ppl for diesel.
The reduction will also apply to all 315 Sainsbury’s filling stations.
The cuts come after motoring groups criticised fuel retailers for not passing on recent reductions in wholesale costs to motorists and for running promotions that exclude some motorists.
Up to 4p per litre cheaper
Asda senior fuel buyer Dave Tyrer said: “We know how important saving money is for our customers at this time of year, so we will always aim to keep the cost of essentials down, whether that’s on fuel, food or fashion.
“Over the last three weeks we’ve brought fuel prices down by up to 4p per litre without any voucher requirements, meaning all our customers, regardless of their budget, will benefit from a price cut at the pumps.”
David Pegg, Fuel Buying Manager for Sainsbury’s, said: “We are committed to helping our customers live well for less this Christmas, which is why we’re dropping the price of unleaded petrol by up to 2 pence per litre and diesel by up to 1 pence per litre across every single one of our forecourts.”
Sainsbury’s is also running a promotion until December 20 that offers shoppers 10ppl off their fuel bill when they spend more than £60 on groceries. However, the AA has criticised the promotion and similar deals from Tesco and Morrisons for excluding low-spending customers.
Lower spending drivers frozen out
An AA spokesman told the Press Association: “Asda’s price cuts mean that lower-spending drivers – such as the young, lower-income workers, people who live on their own and many of the elderly – are no longer frozen out from the benefit of reduced wholesale costs.
“As has become an established pattern this year, other supermarkets have waited for Asda to make the first move in a series of pump price skirmishes – meanwhile tying fuel savings to £40 or £60 spends in-store. That works for some shoppers but many others resent being left out in the cold when it comes to cheaper fuel.”
Simon Williams, fuel spokesman for the RAC said the Sainsbury’s reduction was merely “a token cut” as it normally charges 2p per litre more than Asda.
He also pointed out that the difference in average costs between Asda and the other “big three” supermarkets has grown over the past three years, with Asda’s prices consistently the lowest. He added: “The unfortunate result is that other fuel retailers, not near Asda forecourts, don’t have to lower their prices as much to compete, meaning the UK average price doesn’t fall as far as it really should.”