Inquiry calls over 'postcode lottery' fuel prices

Petrol pump There are claims that drivers in some areas are being subjected to a 'postcode lottery' on fuel prices

There are calls for a government investigation into supermarket fuel prices.

Councillors in Lincolnshire claim that leading retailers are typically charging more for petrol and diesel at supermarkets in rural areas, compared with stores in larger towns and cities.

The environment portfolio holder for East Lindsey District Council, Tony Bridges, believes motorists in his part of Lincolnshire pay more for their supermarket fuel than drivers in other parts of the county.

Cllr Bridges said: "I fine it quite extraordinary that household food such as bread and milk cost exactly the same in most supermarkets, but when you get to fuel prices they are vastly different. It's like a postcode lottery."

Variable pricing

The major supermarkets have long used discounted fuel as a way to attract shoppers.

Start Quote

Petrol pump

"As is the case with all other petrol retailers in the UK, Tesco does not operate with one national price”

End Quote Tesco spokesman

But prices at the pumps can vary dramatically depending on where drivers fill-up.

At the time of writing, Tesco was charging 3p a litre more for petrol and diesel at its filling station in Cleethorpes, compared with one of its supermarkets in Lincoln, less than 40 miles away.

A spokesman for the supermarket giant said: "As is the case with all other petrol retailers in the UK, Tesco does not operate with one national price.

"Our clear goal for customers is to endeavour to be competitive on petrol and diesel in the local catchment area for each store."

Most other supermarket chains appear to operate a similar policy, although a spokeswoman for Asda said: "We always set a maximum national price cap, whereas our competition charges higher prices from town to town."

'Crippling' the industry?

Critics of the big supermarkets have accused them of selling petrol and diesel at below cost price to attract customers to their stores.

Speaking to BBC Look North, the chairman of RMI Petrol Retailers' Association, Brian Maddison, said: "We have said to the Office of Fair Trading and to the government that this is crippling the whole retail industry for forecourts in the UK."

The latest survey from the AA revealed that petrol was cheapest in Yorkshire and Humberside and most expensive in Northern Ireland.

The government recently announced it had postponed its 3p a litre rise in fuel duty from August until January 2013.

Tim Iredale Article written by Tim Iredale Tim Iredale Political editor, Yorkshire & Lincolnshire

Elected mayors would prevent 'brain drain' from north

There are calls for the government to look again at the prospect of introducing directly elected mayors to more English cities.

Read full article


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    whilst we are on about supermarkets,can any body explain how fuel prices have increased by 5 pence a litre in the past 3 weeks,i run a small petrol station and am inceasingly finding it 1 p 3 weeks ago followed by a 3 p last week and just orderd for thursday delivery another 1 p,am i making more money No Regards Roy

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Whilst fuel retailers are guilty of maximising profits in every area - taking an approx share of 60% of the price, lets not forget who the real Fuel Price Villain is.


  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    What I fail to understand is why the supermarkets refuse to introduce a single national price for fuel. Their food is the same price nationally. Why can't their fuel be the same?.................oh yes! I remember, they want to maximise their profits. Low competition area = High fuel price. High competition area = Low fuel prices.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    And as a deisel car driver. why do i have to pay more for deisel than petrol - they dont in France or Spain.

    Pure greed and I see that the tax that is Carbon Trading is now being exploited by the Banks, ripped off everywhere you look.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Until such time as motorists make a stand & say "I refuse to be exploited any more" & not use their cars, this will continue.
    The government want us all to change over to electric cars. The problem is they are to expensive to buy, the batteries are expensive to replace,and the range on electric cars is poor with few recharging points.
    Whatever transport mode you choose you get hit in Britain now.


Comments 5 of 16



  • Peaky Blinders publicity shotBrum do

    Why is the Birmingham accent so difficult to mimic?

  • Oliver CromwellA brief history

    The 900-year-story behind the creation of a UK parliament

  • Beer and alcoholAbstinence wars

    The struggle to claim the month of October

  • Image of Ankor Wat using lidarJungle Atlantis

    How lasers have revealed an ancient city beneath the forest

  • Tesco signBest before?

    Has Tesco passed its sell-by date, asks Richard Anderson

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.